Coalition's NBN to achieve 25Mbps to 80Mbps?

Malcolm Turnbull has provider further details on what the Coalition's NBN plan might look like - but still has not released an NBN policy.

Malcolm Turnbull has revealed speeds the Coalition’s National Broadband Network (NBN) could achieve, with speeds of 25Mbps to 80Mbps expected on its version of the NBN, based on the broadband experience in the UK.

Turnbull, the shadow minister for broadband, told 7:30 last night the Coalition would use a mix of technologies, such as fibre-to-the-premises for new developments and what Turnbull is calling fibre-to-the-cabinet, a term used in the UK to describe fibre-to-the-node.

Turnbull said most people will achieve speeds of 50Mbps, while those farthest away from the node will experience speeds of 25Mbps and a third of people will achieve speeds of 80Mbps, based on the experience in the UK.

“I'll be very conservative and I would say three quarters [of people] would be either between 50 megs and 80 megs and … those people at the edge may be in the 25-megabits-per-second area,” he said.

Turnbull was reluctant to put a definite price against his proposal, but stated using copper for the last mile to homes 1000m or less from the node could save three quarters of the cost of the NBN.

“The cost differential between fibre-to-the-cabinet and fibre-to-the-node, on the one hand, and fibre-to-the-premises, which is what the government is doing … [has] a ratio of about four to one,” he said.

However, when asked whether this would mean the policy would be $10 to $12 billion, Turnbull reiterated previous comments that the Coalition was unable to cost a figure for its plan unless NBN Co was transparent about contracts.

Turnbull also labelled the current NBN a failure, stating new housing estates do not have infrastructure in place to be NBN-ready, with homes in new estates still without an NBN connection eight months later.

“So the project is failing…” he said.

“The problem is it is costing far too much and it's taking far too long. So my challenge is to find a way of recalibrating it so that you achieve the objective of giving people broadband that's fast enough to do everything they want to do, now and foreseeably, and will cost a lot less and be much faster to deploy.

“And so that's why we're saying [is], ‘Don't be hung up on one technology. Use fibre-to-the-premises where it makes sense, in new estates [and] in geographies where it's cost effective. But don't be hung up on that as the only way to go. And if you can get very high speeds with fibre-to-the-cabinet then – as indeed you can and telcos around the world are doing that – then why not do that?’”

Turnbull yesterday launched a broadband survey to determine where the worst performing areas are in Australia for the Coalition to determine which areas need to be prioritised for the NBN roll out.

Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy, lambasted Turnbull for launching a broadband survey without providing a firm NBN policy.

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Francis Youhg


Since 2009 we have known that building FTTN to deliver 12 Mbps to urban premises would cost $11 billion, plus whatever compensation Telstra cared to demand for its 100%-privately-owned copper to your house. At that time, Telstra wanted $15 billion, making a total of $26 billion in 2009, and dependency on copper wires that are mostly past their 30 year expected life. Building FTTN to deliver 25-80 Mbps will cost more than this, and assumes that councils will approve the erection of large, fan-cooled cabinets for at least every km of residential streets, while knowing that they will be superseded later this decade. There is no excuse for Mr Turnbull not to publish his costings, even leaving out the compensation and rotten copper replacement costs. But he won't, because his proposal falls flat on the numbers, not merely on its abject inferiority as a technology. The permanent, one-off FTTP build costs $12 billion over ten years, and reaches all cities and large to medium size towns. There is no excuse for the coalition not to adopt the NBN, despite it having emerged when Labor was in office, because it is the right solution. Malcolm Turnbull even acknowledged last week that its project funding model was appropriate. The second shoe must surely drop soon.

Nathan Lee


More short sighted policy from the Coalition. If there was one area (aside from education)we should be investing in heavily it's IT. To not do so is going to leave us on the tech scrapheap in future.

Also under that model: the bush still gets screwed (as they do not live within a km of an exchange.. Hell, I live in Surry Hills and I'm more than a km from the exchange!). Average consumer gets shafted for the forseeable future..

Dial-up speeds are unacceptable today - yet in 10 years time that's what the coalition will have forced everyone down the path.

For the good of the nation - we need the NBN. The internet is not getting less used, less popular or less critical to every thing we do.. So why is Turnbull and the coalition pretending that we'll be ok with marginally faster than we have today at probably not too far off the same cost.

Where's the cost benefit analysis Turnbull? Where's the cost of maintaining the existing copper network that's falling apart? What's the opportunity cost as we languish in the slow lane as other countries get onboard with fast internet?



A hint for the media.

Ask Turnbull "When do you consider FTTN will have to be replaced with FTTH?".

If he says "never" then ask "So, Malcom, you want us to believe that demand for speed or capacity will suddenly stop growing?"

If he names a date ask "So, Malcom, what you're saying here is we are expected to pay for FTTH anyway, just that we're also expected to pay off FTTN first. How is that value for money?"

The entire argument the Liberals are making seems to be based on the idea that time stands still. That we'll never need more than X speed (Turnbull keeps changing his mind about what X is).

But if FTTH is inevitable, and it is, and if it costs whatever it costs, why spend even more money on something that will become redundant in such a short time frame that the only way to pay it off is to charge more for it retail.

Simple maths. FTTN costs north of $20B and will last us 5 to 10 years (Its already inadequate for some users). FTTH costs $40B but will physically last 50 years and in that time continue to provide any speed imaginable.

Simple fact. FTTH is inevitable and will have to be implemented whether we do it now or in 5 or 10 years.

I implore journalists to keep asking the question "Where is the value for money?" "How can FTTN be cheaper when fibre will last 50 years?"

Michael Foster


50-80Mbps in less than ten years time???

I'm currently getting 100/2.4 Mbps at home in Meadowbank, NSW on Telstra Bigpond Cable Ultimate for $110 a month. I want a higher upload speed and a plan for higher speeds into the future.

In Japan most homes have been able to get a 1Gbps full duplex internet connection of FTTH for less than $150 per month for several years. In Australia that is only available to companies at rates well in excess of $1000 per month.

Come on, get with the times...

John Hess


Whilst i guess it is technically correct to say that FTTP is superior to FTTN (or even well delivered HFC), it is also technically correct to say that an A380 is technically superior to a Bugatti Veyron.

The A380 has a much higher top speed of 1 176 km/h, a longer range and can carry way more passengers... It also requires a 1.9km long runway to land and costs $100'000 to refuel.

The Bugatti Veyron has a comparatively modest top speed of 408.47 km/h.

So lets say that instead of broadband, our government have gone mad and want to provide all Australian's with their own private access to "lightning fast" physical transportation, and that the proposal has been so well received that they’re going to set aside $50bn every year to achieve this objective.

Now we've got a choice. The government has promised that it will spend $50bn per year until all australians have access to "lightning fast" physical transportation.

At $50bn per year, the government can afford to buy 129 A380s per year, and will allocate them to those most in need of "lightning fast" transport. Of Course to get it you'll have to make accommodations for the installation of the 2 km long runway (possibly in your apartment), and pay the refueling costs to use it.

With the same $50bn per year, the government can afford to buy 50,000 Bugatti Veyrons. It'll fit in your driveway just fine, goes more than fast enough to give you the ride of your life and compared with what the rest of the world are driving, you're still looking pretty good.

So... Do you want a Veyron or an A380. While both are stupidly impractical, one is about 390 times more practical than the other.

Granted this scenario is ridiculous, the cost and practicality differences are basically the same as FTTP vs FTTN.

Paul Krueger


Except... it won't.

Instead of regurgitating what can only be an "exaggeration" by Malcom how about checking to see if our copper pairs are the same as that used in the UK (they are not), or how well users in NZ did (since they use a single copper pair like we have).

He must have been put on the spot to guestimate numbers like those. Just plain wrong.



MT making a wild guess to avoid the battering TA got by not answering Leigh Sales' question.

FTTN is a raffle. A few % will able to get it even if they choose not to, and most who want it won't be able to get it.

MT's 75% guess is likely wrong, as statistics from UK show that average FTTC speeds are only 30 Mbits/sec. They are not in the percentage who can get "super-fast broadband" For people who are lucky enough to be close enough to the node to benefit from Profile 17a, they can choose the "up to 76 Mbit" service and get 50 to 80. But the vast majority don't have that choice.

Note the fastest speed for "up to 76 Mbps" BT was only 63 Mbps. Average was only mid-50s

Abel Adamski


John Hess
Interesting if confused post.
May I suggest a closer parallel would be upgradig a dirt track to a gravel toll road or an ashphelt toll road.
The ashphelt road is funded by borrowings which will be paid by Tolls and enables commercial, business, residential, essential services etc, requires less in the way of service and maintenance.
The Gravel road is cheaper however has it's limitations, is high maintenance and not conducive to Commercial or business use and is far from satsfactory over the years and will in fact inhibit further development in other aspects in the area, thus limiting traffic and the Toll revenue necessitating taxpayer subsidy.
How you choose to use the road if at all is your choice.
That attitude is very penny wise pound foolish

Abel Adamski


A very worthwhile analysis



Yes Malcolm but will it fix pair gain NO, will it fix black spots NO, will it replace cable (shared) NO.

Tony of Poorakistan


We don't need IT infrastructure - we are (or have) already outsourced all the high-tech jobs to India.... who is going to use it?



@Tony of Poorakistan
as the au dollar falls in the next few years to a reasonable normal level once the mining boom ends
it will be less protifitable/attractive to continue to outsource to india
meaning these jobs will return to australia

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