Victorian government backs slower NBN

State government endorses mixed technology model

The Victorian government has indicated it supports its federal Coalition counterparts' changes to the rollout of the National Broadband Network, including NBN Co adopting a multi-technology mix that will make significant use of fibre-to-the-node and HFC.

In a submission to the panel conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the NBN and an assessment of the regulatory environment of the rollout — known as the Vertigan panel after chair Michael Vertigan — the Victorian government has backed target speeds for the majority of connections of 25 megabits per second by 2016 and 50Mbps by 2019.

NBN fibre-to-the-premises connections can offer download speeds of 100Mbps, and FTTP can potentially deliver gigabit speeds to households and businesses in the future.

"[A]dhering to the original NBN plan of providing households with very high speed broadband, well in excess of the foreseeable needs of most users, is likely to be very costly, unnecessary, and hence uneconomic," the Victorian government argues in a late submission responding to a regulatory framing paper produced by the panel.

The government supports "strategic approach to NBN design and deployment" based on the target 25Mbps and 50Mbps speeds previously advocated by the Coalition.

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"The opportunity cost of foregoing FTTP speeds and opting instead for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) speeds as the base level of performance is likely to be low," the submission states. "Where more significant speeds are necessary, the strategic deployment of higher speed solutions where there is demand can be pursued."

The benefits of "very high speed broadband" to all residential users "have been over-stated, and are unlikely to stand up to cost-benefit analysis". "In reality, most residential consumers will not benefit from having fibre to the premise at this point in time, although they may require it longer term," it states.

The submission backs the idea of competing infrastructure providers potentially paying a levy to subsidise the roll out of the NBN in regional areas.

The panel should give priority "to identifying industry structures and policies that foster both retail and network infrastructure competition while minimising network duplication costs and NBN Co’s regional cross-subsidy funding needs — with any policies selected still effective if NBN Co is privatised and no longer subject to direct Commonwealth control".

Options to increase retail pricing could include ditching NBN Co's much-loathed CVC pricing and reducing the number of regional Points of Interconnect to make it easier for smaller ISPs to offer NBN services.

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6 Comments

Industry Observer

1

The Victorian Government has little choice, slow NBN is all that the coalition Government will deliver.
This is the opposite of what the Government said when the NBN was going to be delivered properly.

Abel Adamski

2

Pity the economic benefits can't be realised, nothing left to do but keep record, open the popcorn and watch the expensive comedy show unfold, then hold the comedians to account and that especially includes the media.

I remember a P.M being held to account for bending an election promises and the furore and vitriol that followed.
Not a peep for our communications minister and his weasel words and lies
http://delimiter.com.au/2014/05/01/turnbull-repeats-triple-j-lie-alan-jones/

sbd

3

"...the Victorian government has backed target speeds for the majority of connections of 25 megabits per second by 2016 and 50Mbps by 2019."
"...previously advocated by the Coalition."

...and later determined by the NBN and the Coalition to be UNATTAINABLE with the MTM system. Even 25mbps by 2019 isn't achievable. Wake up Victoria, its 2014, not 2013 pre-election.

"although they may require it longer term," -perhaps by 2019?
BTW for any reading and wanting to comment, Computerworld posts don't work in Firefox, but they do with Chrome

Jason

4

"...the Victorian government has backed target speeds for the majority of connections of 25 megabits per second by 2016 and 50Mbps by 2019."
"...previously advocated by the Coalition."

If Telstra was doing there job we would already have 24mbps

"[A]dhering to the original NBN plan of providing households with very high speed broadband, well in excess of the foreseeable needs of most users, is likely to be very costly, unnecessary, and hence uneconomic,"

The cost of maintaining and remediation of the FTTN and HFC makes it uneconomic

Dale

5

Jason: Not to mention that NBN doesn't even own the copper or HFC network that they plan to deliver their network on. How stupid is that?

Jeremy

6

A few years down the line, when 95% of our copper is even more heavily degraded than current and will be forced to use some other medium.. they will then fork out an even larger chunk of cash..

Would it not be best to spend the upfront costs now and upgrade all of it in one swoop then have to pull even more money over that time trying to keep copper maintained and working.

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