How Fast Will The Coalition Broadband Network Be?

Malcolm Turnbull paid ABC's 7:30 a visit yesterday to talk about the Coalition's broadband plan, and at this stage, I think there is more information in the public domain about the iPhone 6 than there is the Coalition's broadband plan. Nevertheless between all the government bashing-this and the too expensive and slow-that, Turnbull got down to telling us actual numbers for how fast the Coalition's own broadband network would be. So what's the magic number?

Turnbull has previously said that the Coalition's national broadband alternative will be fast enough for "most" users. Let that horrible feeling wash over you before you read just how fast Turnbull is promising. The story so far is that Turnbull is proposing a plan that would see fibre deployed to street cabinets (or nodes) all over the country, with connections to houses to be delivered via the old copper network. Here's how fast it's going to go:

...Fibre to the cabinet will deliver for most of its customers in those areas in less than 1,000 metres speeds of between 25 megabits per second for the people that are the furthest away, for most people speeds of 50 or better and for a third, 80 megabits per second.

Let's compare that to the Labor NBN plan. Stephen Conroy and NBN Co are promising 100Mbps speeds for every home connected to the fibre network, with a view to upgrade those speeds to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) later on. So, 25Mbps broadband proposed in 2012 compared to a 100Mbps-minimum network that's been underway for a few years already.

Malcolm, you're going the wrong way...

Later on in the interview, after some more top-notch government bashing, Malcolm does hit on an interesting point. The NBN is going to take a long time to build. It's already rolling out, sure, but it's got over a decade to go. Turnbull is promising that the speed of the Coalition's broadband roll-out would be faster and cheaper:

Well what we would have if we take out approach, we will be able to deliver very fast broadband much sooner, much cheaper and more affordably.

Getting fast broadband quickly is all well and good, but do we want a job done quickly or do we want it done right?

Which plan do you prefer? [7:30]



    Do it once, do it right! Plus it doesn't need to be upgraded later at a higher cost and further long time disruptive rollouts.

      Add my +1 to that too.

        On behalf of the nation

        +23 million

          sorry, -1 for me - make that 29,999,999 thanks.

          My area currently isnt on the NBN plan, so I'll be waiting 10 years to get it fcukyouverymuch Labor...

            So because your not going to get it quickly you don't think it's a good idea?

            My area is planned to get it by 2015 which I am happy with. But even if I had to wait till 2017 or longer I would still know that a fibre to the home network is far superior to fibre to the node.

            So move to a better area. It's that simple.

            And what's wrong with refugees? They're just human beings without homes, due to strife in their homeland, seeking refuge in a place considered to be one of the best places to live in the world.

            Maybe you just weren't aware that there is a difference between human smuggling / illegal immigration and asylum seeking / refugees. Now you know.

            You lose the Internet with that comment. Our refugee intake is only around 20,000 a year. I'll do the math for you, since you probably can't: 200,000 over 10 years. You're out by more than six million.

            Wonder how many of those will use the NBN to start productive businesses employing other Australians while you sit around whining? More than one, I'm sure.

        And my Axe!

      What he said...

      (Which is exactly what I said in another NBN article :P)

        +100Mbps here

          +1 here. When you've got it, going back to ADSL is akin to going back to dialup. Fsck off Malcolm.
          NBN fscking rocks.

      +1 All that money could have been used to roll THE DECENT network out faster. The NBN is a consistent network, and will be extremely reliable. I'm sick of choosing where to live depending on how far from the exchange the house is. It's the coalitions way of making sure people leave the rural Australia and heads into major city centers, they have more control that way.

      how much money would we waste upgrading what we already have only to re-start the NBN in 5 years...

      its like spending 5 k on fixing a car worth 2k instead of buying a new car for 14k with airbags etc etc when you can afford it.

      what a joke. any one who knows about economics should know this.

    Libs would have won the last election if they said "NBN will continue as is" and followed through with it but no, they didn't and they lost because they still don't understand the whole thing. If they say "NBN will continue as is" they will win this election coming. Lib...say it, mean it and do it

      It was their only thing that made them different to Labor. Last election was pro or against NBN.

        Not entirely true. The Coalition also promised to cut services to the public by promising to slash spending

        I have poor memory - but wasn't Workplace Choices or whatever it was called the main reason Labor got in?

    Damn right. Labor's plan is more expensive, but it means that future costs will be SO MUCH LOWER.

    Labor's NBN is a network that won't require a major upgrade for DECADES. The coalitions will require constant additions and modifications.

    This idea that Labor throws money away on every project is a complete misconception. They invest in the future as well as the present.

      Actually Angus, The cost to upgrade Libs plan won't be as much as you think. If they are running F2N then the last bit of wiring (tail) can be done by the telcos, which could be what they are hoping for. Telstra client rings up and says I want F2H. The backbone will be the same as NBN and the upgrade cost (if telcos do the upgrade) should be the same as the current or less than the NBN though it may cost the Telstra client to have Fibre installed to the home.

      Also, it has been proven that Labour has thrown money away if you use past Labour governments as proof or evidence. Most people will pass their opinion upon that (just saying is all, not fighting here).

        Don't get me wrong, I want NBN but I also want it now. I was just thinking out loud is all.

          Agreed. where is it now? I want it NOW! On the current plan, pretty much half of Brisbane won't get it, except for Labor held seats.. Favourtism much?

            Patience is a virtue. Something you seem not to have.

            Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for life. May not be perfect but its quicker to give someone a fish then to teach them.

            Do you also want commercial space travel right now?

        The thing is, the telcos won't upgrade anything if it doesn't make them money.

    Do you know what annoys the crap out of me in regards to the current copper network? The unknown. To me, the biggest advantage of the NBN is being able to move to any house/apartment/office in Australia* and being able to pick the speed that you need.

    If your plan has speed variables based on distance from hardware then your plan is a technological failure.

    * I understand that the NBN plan still has areas covered by satellite services rather than fibre.

      It gets better - I'm 500m from my exchange, and am currently getting 1.3Mbit. Modem is telling me I should be getting 14Mbit. Turns out it's ageing copper that's to blame - who'd've thunk it? Wonder if it's from the exchange to the block though, or inside the apartment :/ Knowing my luck, the second, and it'll cost me.

    Cheaper for the project in the short term, but replacing the wrotting copper.... just going to cost as much in the long term. Good on the NBN for looking into the future and not until the next election.

    The coalition's plans remind me of the toll roads in Sydney like the M2. Build it with only 2 lanes then spend $550 million and cause inconvenience to everybody when you realise a few years later that you really needed 3 lanes, not 2.

    I liked the interviewer's comments that she would be wary about buying a lemon if it was cheaper and available sooner - exactly what I was thinking. What's the future capability of FTTN? Is it capped at those speeds that Malcolm mentioned (always limited by the last mile copper network)?

      Ah, but then Labor can point the finger at the NBN and say "We told you we shouldn't have had a government-dictated NBN from the beginning"

    Someone help me out here.
    Works have already commenced for the NBN and have completed in some areas. If the opposition gets their plans through what are they going to do? Stop all ongoing works in their tracks and go through with theirs? That sound unbelievably retarded since it now means that a small group that already has FTTP gets the benefit.

      The labor party have worked on getting irrevocable construction contracts signed, before the last election, so that the libs can't pull out of a few years worth of work.

    Have voted Liberal all my life....

    .....Hate Abbott's public facade and policy of not having a policy.
    ...... Dislike Turnbull's bullcrap bashing of NBN.
    ......... Dislike current lib negativity

    What's a boy to do next election? NBN is the primary wedge political item which could throw my support behind the other guys.

    The Libs should just go quiet on this issue, blame contracts already signed and have Turnbull concentrate on tossing Abbott out of the leadership.

      Abbot is a joke of a leader. Changing my vote to Labour, considered greens but loosing bob brown seems like a massive back step to the crazy days for the greens...

        WTF? you'd vote for Bob Brown!?? The man who invented the $23/tonne carbon tax.. Something wrong with this country... But thats ok, when the mining, oil and gas industry closes up shop and we're all unemployed, who cares really??

          Someone drinking the cool-aid??

          Whilst I'm opposed to the carbon tax, it will not have that level of effect. It will result in some downturn in mining investment, but would not destroy the industry. That's just absurd political spin

          Also don't point to the current mining boom downturn as a result of the carbon tax. The downturn (due to lower commodity prices) is due to a global downturn and the after effects of nations (read Europe and America mainly) being riddled with enormous debt (substantially more then Australia, although that's not to say we don't had debt) as well as the knock on effect of the GFC.

            This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

          Every oil and gas company I've applied to (and I've done the research) is anticipating the effect of the carbon tax and working towards reducing their emissions for current and future projects. That means that the carbon tax is working. Are these companies going under? Not a chance.

      I don't get to vote until the next election. But I sure as hell won't even consider the libs while Tony's still leader. That said though I have been a Labor supported for as long as I've been following politics. But on all of his non NBN ideals Turnbull's actually not so bad.

      Don't vote. It's suited me for a long time now. If you can't support anyone and live with it, then don't.

    I've heard the iPhone 6 is going to have NFC.


      +1 for that.

      Have not laughed like that for a long time, well done!

      I heard it'll have fibre to the NFC over bluetooth in metro areas only

    10 years is a long time for a technology project. i don't want anything less than NBN at this stage, but i reckon I'll want more in 10 years.

      Well considering the improvements people have typically seen in the past 10 years, the next 10 to me seems to me to be much better relative to the past decade. Especially given the room to move to 1000Mbps with time.

        In 2 years you can get 1000/4000 Mbps speeds.Who knows what'll be by the time the actual build is done.

    I prefer whichever option is cheapest. I don't feel that current speeds are too slow so any improvement is fine with me. The cost of the NBN is such that it will probably need to last many decades, whereas a cheaper solution could easily be written off in favour of whatever comes next more easily. i.e. I think the NBN needs to be a lot better than a cheaper solution that can be rolled out more quickly, so I am not at all swayed by the figures in this article.

      ADSL was fine with me about 10 years ago ... Then online habits changed and I needed ADSL 2+

      As higher broadband comes more services to use said broadband will come also. Soon enough (10-20yrs) Turnbulls "High Speed" broadband will also be nigh on useless.

      Once all the cables are laid in the NBN upgrading will be a matter of swapping the node hardware.

      Turnbulls suggestion will require more cable to be laid using our children's taxes.

      NBN FTW!

      Motormouth don't comment on things you know nothing about.

      When I lived close to an exchange I would agree. I could do everything I wanted with great speeds.

      But now? I live in southwest Sydney, in a place called Campbelltown. Quite a major city, and very large both geographically and population wise. The suburb I live in is a short 5 minute drive, yet because by cable length I am 7+ km from the exchange for my to watch a YouTube video on the LOWEST quality possible with NO ONE else accessing the home Internet (so no one downloading or uploading). I have to PAUSE YouTube videos and wait approx 5-10 minutes just to watch a 2min clip.

      This is not to say YouTube is essential or anything along the lines. Just to draw into view how even living somewhere in a major area results in SLOW Internet.

      I know I could cut my study time in half with high speed Internet (downloading text books, studies, videos etc)

      "What ever comes next"?

      Data travels at the speed of light through fibre cables. There is no room to improve for the cables.

      Where we will see speed increases is from the upgrading of the hardware that the fibre cables connect to.

      Do it right the first time. Its an investment in vital public infrastructure that wont even need to be upgraded (only replaced when lines naturally degrade over time) .

        And there you'll be wrong. Right now we have a certain % of data loss over long distances even with fibre. People are working on bringing that % as close to 0 as possible. That is what will improve your speed.
        Also if it ever becomes commercial sometime in the future, Quantum communications means instantaneous transmission. How does 0 (or near 0) ping sound like to you?

    As someone who is 1800m from my exchange (outer Sydney), you want to give me speeds of less than 25Mbps, while my mate in Modesto, California (large town, not city) already has 85Mbps.

    Sounds like a deal, lets spend a ton of money and still be behind the world.

      You will most likely have a node far closer to you than your exchange 1.8km away. I can't speak for Lib NBN, but the current Lab NBN has an FDH cabinet (a.k.a. "node") for every 200 houses. I haven't seen number for how many houses-per-node the Libs plan, though.

    About as slow as the current government. Two things ALL governments pride themselves on are incompetence and bureaucracy.

    25MB is not really worth the effort (unless you're on dialup or ADSL 1). Imagine a household with 6 concurrent users - that's a bit over 4MB/sec each. Whereas 100MB is nearly 17MB/sec each. What about supporting probable future applications like super high def TV!

    In the US and the UK any area that gets fibre optic broadband rejoices.

      Now imagine a school with 200 students on that sort of network. Totally useless!

    Why would I want it if it is the same speed as my ADSL?

      If your house is on the exchange, then you wouldn't. That said, most of people won't currently see 24Mbps. Still seems a massive waste though.

    i want my cake and be able to eat it too

    I think firstly without stating the numbers its easy to say lets do it once and gold plated. Now add the cost NBN $70 to $80b versus the decent network of $20 to $25B, you can buy a lot of other infrastructure for $55b. Next both solutions are incredibly short sighted the world is moving to a mobile world so lets see spend $25b over 10 yrs on a decent fixed network (and be honest Telstra and Optus will deliver 50 to 100Mb/sec to cable customers anyway) and install more advanced mobile solutions. Now I see that as superior to putting all our money into a network that is world class but misses the point of mobility and will not only cost a lot to deploy but will never break even as a large % of the population don't need the technology.

      We will never move to a fully mobile internet, there will always be a need for Fibre, well at least for the next few decades.

      Has my head been burried in the sand, i dont recall the NBN costing $70-$80bn

      70-80 billion? A made up number with no facts behind it? Some "experts" might predict it will cost that much, but for fun I will do the same. Using the coalitions proposal will cost 30 billion but in 10+ years time when fibre is needed for the last mile it will cost 100 billion. There for labors plan saves money.

      Also mobile Internet will NEVER be able to replace a fixed line connection completely. It's a technical limitation of mobile Internet, with there always being a limited amount of spectrum availible. Also congestion issues always cripples networks (look at Vodafone). By having a fast fixed line connection and utilising WiFi when possible it will reduce the impact of cellular congestion and allow high speed Internet on both mediums. They complement each other, not compete against. It's not a case of one or the other but a sound mix of both

      You would need to have a mobile tower on every street corner to meet demand, then you wouldnt get anywhere near the speeds you would get over a wired method because bandwidth for any given tower would be shared with people on that street. Say there is 15 homes in that street, each with 4 people living in them. Thats 60 people. So if the tower can provide 25MB/s, thats 416KB/s per person. The tower would need to be connected to fibre to get those speeds in the first place.

      Mobile/wireless solutions will always lag behind. (pun totally intended)

      The NBN is paid for using borrowed money that is repaid by users of the NBN; it is an investment that pays itself off and does not have a cost to the taxpayer. "Other infrastructure" has a cost to the taxpayer; they are expenditures that do not pay themselves off.

      "The point of mobility" is just another thing that libs say and supporters parrot. Is your primary connection a mobile wireless connection (with 4gb of data)? And have you ever heard of WiFi?

    I really love the idea of super high definition TV. More useless crap and more funeral insurance ads in high def, wonderful.


    That's a nice sentence right there about the amount of real information we've got to use for analysis...

    " I think there is more information in the public domain about the iPhone 6 than there is the Coalition’s broadband plan"

    nice one.

    Uhh, how is 100Mbps the minimum on NBN, it's the maximum! Which you will have to pay significantly more for . How about you compare Malc's speeds with the range of speeds NBN will offer. What do you know, they're not that different. You've compared Malc's minimum speed with NBN's maximum!! Transparently biased reporting.

      Not sure what you're getting at, but the NBN starts at 100Mbps right now. The fibre going into the ground right now has the ability to deliver speeds of 1Gbps over time.

        WTF? NBN plans start a lot lower than 100Mbps. Most end users won't sign on for 100Mbps since it will cost a lot more. NBN tops out at 100Mbps right now.

          Dude do some research please.

          If you want to quote numbers like that then Turnbulls delivers a absolute maximum of 80Mbps but the NBN can deliver a maximum of 100Tbps.

          Also comparing a like for like right now. So same actual speed (the speed delivered to my home) with current vs the NBN, I will actually be paying LESS then I am now, and faster downloads and uploads. This is because even the slowest speeds that an NBN retail provider offers is FASTER then the ADSL2 connection I have, and the NBN offering is CHEAPER.

          How dare someone provide me a faster, superior service for less

          For people furthest away, Turnbulls would give an estimated *maximum* of 25 Mbps. On a proper NBN, the maximum would be 100 Mbps (currently).

      You're mistaking the speed of the plan for the speed of the technology and infrastructure. The ~24MB/s speed of your DSL2 plan is limited by technology. The 40-100MB/s of the NBN is limited by the plan.

      The actual fibre being used is able to go above and beyond not just 100MB/s, but above 1,000 MB/s, eventually leading us to 10GB/S (that is, 10,000 MB/s). This won't be feasible for many years to come, granted, but all they'll need to do is upgrade the end points; the fibre cabling itself will still be as happy as Larry.

      Yes, Fibre to the Home is the ideal end point, but lets find the most efficient way to get there where we can all get some benefit along the way.

      seeing as in labs they have reached over 100Tbit/s over fiber optic it gets to the point where is silly to say max speed on the NBN when all it takes is to update the end points not the cable.
      This is why people are saying over the life of the infrastructure the NBN will save the government money. Just think how long copper cables have been in the ground/air.

      Shut up Tony!
      Shouldn't you be at a news conference bagging the carbon tax?

    What people don't understand is that you can do both! Upgrade the backbone, extend to the node, then extend to the home. This way everyone still ends up with fibre to the home in the same period of time that the NBN would deliver it - but in the mean time, we at least have something!

    It's all well and good if you're in one of the few '@$$-end-of-nowhere' places set to get the NBN over the next 3-4 years, but the rest of the country is unlikely to see any benefit at all in the next half decade. If the politicians stopped playing games with each other and got back to work, they'd see that both plans are not mutually exclusive - but in fact mutually dependent!

      What you don't understand is that you can do both... at a higher cost while taking a longer period of time, and with much of the material and labour cost wasted.

      What you propose is just a band-aid fix. Or maybe it's a kiss on a scraped knee.

      Each stage has a fixed cost, a large part of which is not recoverable. So if you set up FTTN, you pay a cost for all the node cabinets and air conditioning and electricity and new copper wiring and all the labour costs, etc. You then upgrade to FTTH, and you have to decommission the node cabinets and air conditioning and copper wiring, and install fibre to the premises, which all has more labour and material costs.
      Along with all those costs are the time required to set it all up.

      So, I'm sorry, but you can wait for the NBN/FTTH to come to you, you can go to where the NBN/FTTH is, or you can just not have the NBN/FTTH.

    Just email Turnbull or Abbots office and ask them how they feel about discriminating against those that won't have anything ( that's what current copper on pairs etc have and that won't change under this scheme ) and laugh at the response. ' It's cheaper our way and faster to deliver ' ...... so giving a few a product solves the current problem? The amount of people who can't get anything in Australia is disgraceful. Under the Libs the cost of not doing the NBN will be in the hundred of billions to future generations. People need to stop thinking of themselves and look 20 years from now. Those chatty copper 1000 mtr lines will be awesome won't they? oops we will need to FTTH then but that's ok someone else can deal with it!

    Considering I can already get 52mb/s on my iPhone 5, give me the NBN, baby!

      Who needs NBN when 4G gives you such lightning fast speeds?
      (I kid, I kid, I'm trolling, don't respond)

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