NBN: Good-bye FTTP, we hardly knew ye

Shocking twist as Coalition government instructs NBN Co to proceed with Coalition policy

The Coalition government today signed the death warrant for the roll out of a predominantly fibre-to-the-premises-based National Broadband Network.

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and finance minister Mathias Cormann have issued NBN Co with a statement of expectations that will guide the government-owned company in the continuing roll out of the network, which will now be based on a mix of technologies.

The statement of expectations replaces the interim statement of expectations issued to NBN Co in the wake of the federal election. It backs 'Scenario 6' from the NBN Co strategic review.

Under direction from the government, NBN Co last year conducted carried out a strategic review which recommended a move away from a primarily FTTP rollout to a multi-technology mix that would include fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre to the basement or distribution point (FTTB/DP).

The conclusions of the strategic review were slammed in the interim report of the Senate’s NBN committee. The committee rejected the new NBN rollout strategy and the multi-technology mix underpinning it; a dissenting opinion by the Coalition senators on the committee slammed the report as “grossly misleading and untruthful in its portrayal of the evidence provided”.

The new statement of expectations backs the strategic review’s conclusion that ‘Scenario 6’ in the review be used as the basis for continuing the network’s rollout.

Scenario 6 advocates the use of HFC for connecting premises in areas where HFC networks exist; FTTP in brownfields areas where it’s the “most economical choice” either because of high revenue potential or because of the cost of FTTN; FTTN in areas with lower revenue potential; the use of FTTB especially for large MDUs; and the use of fixed wireless and satellite for 6 per cent of premises.

“The multi-technology mix NBN, as the name suggests, will make use of existing infrastructure where this is economically beneficial and consistent with its broadband quality and speed objectives,” Turnbull said in a speech to the CommsDay summit today.

“In other words the approach, which depends of course on the completion of the negotiations with Telstra, is designed to give NBN Co the same flexibility in terms of technologies that would be available to an incumbent.

“NBN Co will determine which technologies are most cost-effective and should be utilised on an area-by-area basis, taking into account factors such as existing infrastructure, geo-type, population density and demand for high speed services.

“Of course this will take place within NBN Co's other rollout parameters, such as achieving minimum download and upload rates, serving under-served areas with priority, and generating near term revenue.”

NBN Co public equity capital will be capped at $29.5 billion, the statement of expectations (PDF) says.

Areas identified as “poorly served” by the government’s Broadband Availability and Quality Report should be prioritised for the rollout, the letter states.

“The Government expects completion of the NBN will result in the structural separation of Telstra and a competitive market for retail broadband and telephony services,” the letter states.

In a statement issued in response to the statement of expectations, the Competitive Carriers Coalition lauded the government’s commitment to the structural separation of Telstra and to restricting NBN Co’s to being a wholesale-only business

Tags Malcolm Turnbullnational broadband networknbn coNBN

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15 Comments

Space Kidette

1

Why are we spending $52 BILLION to get more of what we already have? Surely it is better to spend nothing and get the same solution!

bluetie

2

The only sensible thing would be to spend the $52 billion on building an FTTP network that would pay for itself and be productive for many years.
There's nothing sensible or intelligent in peeing the money up against the wall, by wasting it on a high-maintenance collection of old bits and pieces.

RIP FTTP

3

Ah, but @bluetie, it all depends on who owns the wall that the money is being peed up against.
It doesn't matter that MTM *will* cost more in the medium term, and certainly lots, lots more in the long term. Some people and companies, and we can all speculate who they are, are doing very nicely out of this deal. It's just a shame that it isn't the Australian taxpayers.

bluetie

4

Yes, @RIP, some companies are doing very nicely out of the current deal, but we ain't seen nothing yet.
Just wait till the NBN wreckers really get into their stride and start rewarding some of their preferred associates.
So I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. (if only).

Greg

5

Well I am waiting for Telstra to fix and repair the guttering and down pipe on my house from where their idiot technician cable tied the HFC cable to my house. These people such dodgy work I told Telstra to come and remove the cable from my yard and telegraph pole.
The cable was hit by a truck as the cable was slung to low in the rush to have Foxtel / No Pond service. When the cable was hit by the truck the cable snapped another house guttering also from there house.

Also there never will be a FTTN or HFC NBN as Optus has signed contracts to decommission its HFC networks. So how much money will Optus demand for ongoing maintenance and re negotiate of their contracts. This is what NoBill has not stated.
The structural of Telstra was mean to have occurred in 2012, so why is it still being phased in.
Telstra should be split up by the high court as they have a monopoly. The hole Telstra fire sale was done by the Howard lot and a total sham.

Mark

6

The existing FTTP was going to cost a fortune like $70bn plus and be rolled out years behind the original schedule. New technology is already overtaking this expensive white elephant. This decision had to be made.

hazmoid

7

@mark you sound like a NLP shill. Even though the original NBN was going to cost $70bn, the cost of maintenance and lack of reasonable services of the copper network will cost more in the long run. Like the Snowy River Scheme, this is a project that needs to be done properly at at the highest level we can get at this point in time, which is FTTP not FTTN.

Corey

8

@mark probably has FTTP so he can afford to be a shill. The rest of us who are going to be stuck on an outdated form of technology on the other hand.

And since when is fibre outdated and what new technology is replacing fibre?

Kevin Cobley

9

A royal commission into Mr Flawedband and "I'm No Tech Head Kerry's" National Fraudband Network. Funds needed to rebuild FTTH system in another 2 years should be taken from the Coalitions members assets.
The consistent lies an broken promises coming from this crows beggars belief.

Greg

10

@ Mark. In 2003 FTTN was dismissed as a suitable fast broad band option. The CEO Ziggy from Telstra stated the copper network was out of date back in 2001 and needed to be replaced. So now that Ziggy is NBN boss he now lies to Aussie people, Telstra shareholders and Government by stating the copper network can handle iit, when in fact in 2001 he told different story.
Also Mark, yo uneed to factor in the cost of ownership to maintain the nodes, HFC cables etc over the next 30 - 40 years and beyond. Remember that manufacturers only make parts available for 5 years for these nodes. So do the maths and you will find that FTTN & HFC is extremely out dated. So with the ongoing maintenance cost + initial build of FTTN will be double the cost of FTTP. HFC cables need to be replaced as cockatoo's sit on the wires and pull them apart, this has bee replaced 6 times in our street as birds will attack it.
Also if FTTN is so great why is British Telecom ripping out their nodes all over the UK and replacing the whole set up with FTTP only a few years after making it.
The Ziggy and FTTN people ca nnot guarantee you will get their 25 MBps as stated by NoBull Minister. At best you will get 20 then maybe 30 Mbps when you should be getting 50 as they stated.
Yes the Libs have sent us back to the dark ages with technology, this is just another HDTV scandal all over again. As the Packers, Murdocks & Stokes wanted to keep TV for themselves and shut out any new player. SD TV is best unless you have a whiz bang $10 000 TV. I would rather have more choices of channels than having 4 channels of home shopping with re re runs of same old 1990's shows like friends etc. Also FTTN can not even be used for 4K tv broadcast.
I believe the Communications Minister still has a HMV black and white TV at home and is scared we may not want colour.

Robert Braxton

11

Right now I get 75 mbs down and 2 mbs up Telstra cable.

No matter what technology is implemented it is outdated before you finish your requirements spec.

GBB

12

Agreed. Most people complaining about fiber to the home and faster internet just want to stream movies faster ... what a waste of money.
Im all for School, Unis, and Companies getting faster access, but that does no need a nation wide fibre network to every house.

John

13

Rubbish GBB - utter luddite (or LNP stooge) rubish

Pan

14

FTTH is the only logical way forward. I have spent over 10 years working on Telstra's network and the state of copper is simply way beyond-repair. Its an imaginary and "non-existent" dinosaur which has already expired long time ago. Hybrid NBN means twice the costs and pro-longing the unavoidable upgrade which will have to happen sooner rather then later.

bluetie

15

Sorry, Pan, but your well informed and logical comment about FTTP will cut no ice with the political shills, who see nothing but the party press release in front of them.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant, they say.

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