Coalition NBN: The Problem With Vectoring Copper

The Coalition's alternative NBN plan relies on maintaining existing copper connections to homes. What are the challenges with that approach? Robin Braun, Professor of Telecommunications Engineering at University of Technology, Sydney, examines some of the problems 'vectoring' can create.

Copper picture from Shutterstock

In Business Spectator, shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull defended the Coalition's broadband plan, released on Tuesday, as a better alternative to Labor's National Broadband Network (NBN). Well, was he right?

Vectoring — essentially patching up the existing copper network — was put forward by Turnbull, not for the first time, as something of a magic bullet for delivery of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), under a future Coalition government. It is, he wrote:

a key technology which has extended the life of copper everywhere from China to Germany.

So let's put this statement in the context of what we already know about the differences between Labor and the Coalition, with regards to the NBN.

Fibre Versus Copper

You may have already read The Conversation's explanation of the differences in the two sides' policies.

To put it simply, Labor's NBN uses Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, which lays optical fibre to each household; but the Coalition's plan uses Australia's existing copper network to deliver Fibre to the Node (FTTN), essentially delivering new optical fibre to "cabinets" in the street, which is then relayed to individual houses and other premises via existing copper wiring.

The Coalition claims its plan will be faster to build (shaving five years off the current completion date of 2021) and cost tens of billions less than Labor's projected prices.

But …

The current debate on broadband networks reflects a lack of understanding of internet services, the infrastructure that supports it, and future, not-yet-imagined, services.

Many arguments (including Turnbull's) focus on vectoring.

With such an approach, the copper wires used in Australia's current telecommunications network are paired and twisted together to cancel out as much electromagnetic interference as possible from adjoining wires.

Vectoring coordinates those twisted pairs to most effectively reduce interference and increase data transfer volume and speed.

Unfortunately, vectoring's performance deteriorates rapidly with the length of the copper runs, the number of copper pairs bundled together and the quality of that copper.

Turnbull wasn't wrong to call vectoring "as a key technology which has extended the life of copper everywhere from China to Germany" but the best use of vectoring is in high-density areas, where distance to the node is less than 800m.

This has been feasible and effective in European and Asian cities but has not gained much traction in North America, and is unlikely to be a long-term solution for a massive country such as Australia.

Under ideal conditions, vectoring's performance may rise to 60Mb/s downstream (traffic flow to the user's computer) and far lower upstream (traffic flow away from a user's computer).

Structure Of The Internet

It's unfortunate that the term "internet", originally "internetwork", incorporates the word "network".

This makes most of us — and all sides of politics — think of "the internet" as a physical infrastructure.

The internet is actually a suite of services, such as email and web browsing — not an infrastructure. And while it needs infrastructure to support it, generally that infrastructure is optimised for a given set of services.

In today's internet, that means the ability to facilitate high download rates and low upload rates, using an ADSL/copper type of infrastructure.

But today's internet is not the one we'll be using tomorrow.

Moving Forward With FTTP

The best long-term solution is FTTP — as is currently envisioned in the Labor version of the NBN.

Copper from the node to the premise — as the Coalition is promoting, through its vectoring/FTTN approach — can only really support old-style internet services.

Labor's FTTP approach suffers none of the interference experienced by copper, and is very capable of long signal runs. For FTTN to perform similarly, we would have to install nodes closer to homes, with fibre running into them anyway.

Ultimately it will be far more expensive upgrading and maintaining copper than simply installing fibre to begin with.

Supporting The Future

This NBN has the potential to support services that we have not yet developed.

Some 20 years ago, most of us would not have imagined the services we are able to get using our current infrastructure.

If we do not build a new infrastructure now, our horizon will remain just over the hill, and nowhere near where it will need to be in the not-to-distant future.

The government's NBN investment as it currently stands is a way of future-proofing us, plain and simple.

Robin Braun has previously received funding from the ARC and a number of commercial organizations to conduct research in the area of advanced networks.The ConversationThis article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.


Comments

    Good to see we're being futureproofed against "not-yet-imagined services." Makes sense.

      It does make sense actually. We do the same thing (or try to) when building software. We try to write code in such a way that when a customer comes along with a new feature request (i.e. a 'not-yet-imagined-feature'), the software architecture is flexible enough to allow it. I've worked with systems that were not future-proofed in this way and trust me, telling customers "Sorry, we'd love to give you that feature but we can't" is not fun :\.

        Future proofing software doesn't cost the best part of $100billion, so that's somewhat different, really.

          Where did the estimate of $90bil come from? Is it really in the best interests of the Coalition to provide an accurate estimate of the plan that is competing with their own? The only reason anyone is likely to opt into an inferior service is if it is significantly cheaper and faster to implement.

            The $94 billion estimate is truly a worst-case scenario costing. It depends on the rollout taking 50% longer than planned, on the per-premises cost exceeding the estimate by 40%, on revenues not growing in real terms, and on fully a quarter of all households and business going wireless only. Only if all four of those assumptions comes true - and there's no evidence that any of them are likely to - will the NBN cost anything like $94 bn.

          What a coincidence, neither does the NBN!

          Quoting that figure shows you significant lack of understanding. The NBN is budgeted at $37.4 billion dollars. Also, we will start making revenue to pay it back from 2022 at a rate 6-7%. Even if it blows out by 5-15% of that figure, it WILL be recouped by revenue/profits of the infrastructure in the coming years. Your inability to think for yourself and quote figures which are blatant lies(fact check your source) points more towards your train of thought akin to that of a drone.

            Thanks for that pile of steaming condescension, Steven Conroy.

              seriously?

              My, what a mature response …

              Not a fan of facts?

              troll

          Why dont you take a look at some of these clips and then imagine trying to do even a quater of this stuff at 25meg down SFA Up on a piece of decayed copper

          http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=microsoft+vision&oq=microsoft+vision&gs_l=youtube-reduced.3..0l4.6036.21969.0.23316.18.10.1.7.8.0.315.1838.2j5j2j1.10.0...0.0...1ac.1.7okk_8dOnSk

          Good Luck in your future world

      From the perspective of innovation, giving homes access to high-speed broadband opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the average user, not just the ability to reliably watch Youtube HD at 1080p. With FTTP, both small business and residential would be able to achieve things that have so far only been within reach of big business. These opportunities allow more people to implement their ideas for 'not-yet-imagined services' instead of bottlenecking the vast majority of people with download/upload/latency that is not competitive with the rest of the world.

      Yeah, it's called vision. Something the luddite and 1950s caricature of an incompetent husband Tony Abbott seems to have no grasp of.

      There are known knowns, there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns, that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know.

      But there are also unknown...unknowns, the ones we don't know, we don't know.

      .....Know what I mean ?

      seeing as how demand for bandwidth increases over time, could you explain the mechanism by which this is expected to suddenly stop? because that is the only way that the liberal plan could ever be cheaper.

        Tell me this, with the advancement of car and road technology, why aren't cars travelling at 400km / hour down a road?

          Because we're all stuck in traffic, and it's unsafe to do so. That has absolutely no reflection on the discussion at hand.
          A more accurate question should be "tell me this, why aren't there more cars on the roads than there were years ago?" - and the answer is, there are. The bandwidth of the roads is now insufficient most of the time to meet the needs of those traveling on them, causing bottlenecks and expense to our economy and environment. The same will be true of the coalition NBN.

          @squidz - You realise there are a LOT MORE cars on the road than there used to be and that this is more analogous to bandwidth than the speed of each car?

    I think these gentlemen sum it up nicely.

    http://mrjohnclarke.com/media/post/a-very-smooth-presentation/

    I'm already imagining things I can do when I finally get an upload tube that doesn't feel like pushing a golfball up a straw.

      FTTN will fix issues with pair gain systems, the FTTN network with a MINIMUM speed of 25mbps is sufficient for multiple HD streams consecutively ...

        ... But not when I also want to skype conferencing with friends in Europe when the rest of the house is a-streaming.

        The upload there is what will severely limit us. Squidz, I may label myself a troll, but at least I don't just spout the party line.

        Also, it's quite obvious by your posts on this page that you cannot grasp the full merit of better internet services, so why do you feel like your opinion on these things is somehow super-relevant, and you need to ninja-insert said opinion on as many comments as possible?

    The fact is that Labors NBN is only more expensive over the full twenty or so years it will take to fully implement, slow and steady is better than a frantic race. The nodes that the Libs are talking about are only a stop gap and at worst a blockage to future implementation of Fibre to the home. Labor may not win the next election but they can keep some credibility if they can convince the masses that the NBN needs to go ahead with the current system. Here's a trick Abbott, do a proper poll of the peoples opinion and if it is for the current system, leave it alone!!

    Last edited 13/04/13 9:21 am

      I actually bet it's not more expensive over its 20 year build cycle. The maintenance costs on the copper network are massive (iirc about $1B now and heading towards $2B) so that $10B saving the libs claim is lost in maintenance costs in the time to takes just to build the NBN.

    Sure still sucks for people at the end of the link from the node. The added attenuation and signal degradation if you don't have a perfect line will still not provide anything better than ADSL2 speeds. The fact that the quoted speed they're going to provide isn't much better than ADSL2 says something as well...

      29 Billion absolutely wasted on a service that is only going to provide marginal improvments.

      They may as well throw the engine and body of an old Ford onto the chassis of a Ferrari. It is going to be nothing like a supercar. Maybe just marginally better in ideal cases where you find a good combination of the two that nicely fits together.

        If you invest that bit extra though everything works nicely and the full potential of the technology can be unleashed.

        (I really need to register so I can edit)

          By the same token, by the time FTTH is deployed, there will be a new and better technology that makes fibre obsolete

            As an above post I made to one of your comments, you honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

            Right now, do you know the QUICKEST and CHEAPEST way to upgrade a fibre connection?

            Swap out the hardware at either end of the line. Suddenly you have 10-100x the performance. Hence the futureproofing of the network.

            Fiber has been around since the 70's

            NOTHING has superseded it yet.
            And with the fact that bandwidth increases can be implemented just by changing the way light is sent down the fiber, it might not happen within the next 50 years.

    COPPER .... when will people learn? So the Coalition going to upgrade the entire street / neighbourhood with shiny new copper? I live in an area that was most likely built in the 30's and upgraded in the 70s

    Who are the advisors behind the NBN? Because most likely it's their fault than the parties' fault.

    Actually, you could square the blame straight on the party for this one.

    Their advisers would have told them of the problems with fttn and the benefits of ftth - but because its a labor policy, they will never adopt it.

    Right now copper in REAL actual speed terms here in Aus isnt capable of 100mbs, not without replacing and doubling every strand into homes which would cost more than rolling out fibre. Most people wont even get the 50 they are promising considering the quality of the copper out there.

    From http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Carriers-Turn-To-Vectoring-To-Milk-DSL-Copper-108493 dated May 2010
    "Of course there's plenty of caveats. The technology's still only in the lab, isn't expected to see commercial application anytime this year, and won't fare as well in the real world on copper of dubious quality. The technology also requires new linecards and CPEs, as well as two pairs of wires for each household."

    So the technology is barely out in the real world for a couple of years max. It requires two good quality pairs when most households currently only use one pair. That means every pair needs to be tested to check that it is up to scratch and additional pairs laid to use this technology. Sounds like the coalition is so biased against fibre that it is willing to lay a new copper network to avoid it.

      The fact it also requires a guage of copper hardly if at all used in australia doesn't help the liberals pitched costings.

    It is far too technical for 96.87% of the population in engineering terms, but what is always easier to understand is the old Chinese proverb "follow the gold, where it nests is the truth".
    WHO is making the big bucks out of this? WHO organised the counter-quotes, if any?
    WHAT is the purpose of the expenditure? (Where is the payback and for WHO?)
    These services are absolutely not required in this country beyond what we have, for the 94% of potential users, who are only going to use NetPads, anyway.
    This country is broke.
    Our easy money from mining is over.
    We have already borrowed more than we can afford to repay to overseas lenders.
    We should cost the exercise properly and IF we could save HALF the costs for the next 10 years - IF we can't get out of the deals anyway, take the cheap way, now. It will only get cheaper and better in the future, as with all technology.
    Finally, the only possible value that could be produced would be some magical gain from saving a few seconds in communications (NOT games!) and those internationally.
    LAST STRAW: The Asian-owned cables from Australia to the world are the bottleneck!
    My ISP gets me my full contracted ADSL2x speeds inside Oz, 11MBPS and I get an average of less than 4 internationally.
    THAT *IS* a national disgrace.

      •Most of the money is going to labour costs. The only big winner so far has been Telstra who got paid a large sum of money so NBN co could use their conduits.

      •Money from mining is not over yet.

      •We have not borrowed more than we can repay, if we did we would forever be in debt...

      •The cheap way which costs billions to gain minor improvements is not the best way.

      •We have more than adequate links to other countries, links that should not even need to be updated after everyone has NBN. If you experience problems with them and no problems here, it's probably to do with part of their network. Also Asia does not own all of our cables to the world, the Southern Cross Cable for example is our direct link across the Pacific that can provide in excess of 6000Gbits.

      You say the mining boom is ending so we should save the money now - for what? What area or niche besides mining does australia have?

      If we did a fibre network then we could become a leader in new technologies and software that run on next gen networks. Businesses that cant research or develop because of other countries constraints might come here, medical / education technologies etc.. But dont worry about that lets just piss our money away on a network that wont help at all (ie the liberal NBN).

        what could we save it for? i dont know, future Australia fund, Dubai has realised that it's oil money is temporary, so it's put billions away for the future, so that the country can survive on the interest without ever having to export another product again ...

      There are plenty of industries to take advantage of having higher bandwidth, for example:

      Ultraviolet - Once you buy a movie you buy it forever, but not just in bluray in w/e format you want to download it in (see gizmodo/lifehacker for details).

      Games - An R18 rating in Australia... FINALLY!!! (ok yeah QLD was a bit slow), the game industry blew wide open in Australia with Dota2 and LoL servers opening this year and the innovations to virtualise graphics cards, which nvidia SHIELD/GRID have already accomplished to some degree not to mention steambox. All really cool and nifty but if you got piss poor bandwidth... yeahhhhh good luck...

      4k tv - Yeah yeah, i know most people say 1080p is good enough... until they see their fav footy team on 4k... perhaps in 3d, how about gaming in 4k, medical imaging, business conferences, skype calls. 4k on a .H265 codec requires about 20-30Mbps that's just for one stream... i know people have more then one TV in their house, more then one PC and nearly everyone has wifi capable phones/tablets, jeez even the fridge now comes with its own net connection.

      Marketing - Lets say hypothetically that a shopping center like westfield sets up wifi and motion sensors to track peoples movements/phones within the premises. Statistics are gathered on people shopping for example:
      - where
      - at what time
      - traffic rate in and out of stores
      this combined with the stores logs of purchases... how much do you think statistical analysts would pay for that data? Better still what about if westfield ups the prices of rent because you're in 'prime location'. How about if stores could dynamically alter their prices based of peoples buying habits?...
      WAHAHAHA!!!! sorry just imagining 2 stores darrell lea and a cake it away dukin it out in a price war... the funny thing is they're located at either end of westfield so every time one drops the price of something just a stampede of fatties from one end to the other XD... sorry my mind has weird thoughts sometimes, i digress.
      While dynamic pricing could be in place locally imagine if you could do this all from a central location... say for example myers headquarters? With a fibre backbone you could manage all stores in the state from one location, decreasing/eliminating management costs on site and just letting customer service reps serve people.

      Deliveries - While quite popular now increased access times, reliable connections and more accurate GPS tracking will promote this service on a national level. Internationally since the cost of hosting a server 'should' drop due to reduced bandwidth costs more traffic will pass through aussie sites and promote our exports at a new level.

      Last edited 13/04/13 8:18 pm

        Robin Braun <3
        Another person that understands the importance of what's trying to be done
        although unsurprising since you teach at the same uni i attend.

        Live long and prosper... Longevity and prosperity... new slogan for the NBN :p

        Wow, look at all the crap you listed
        They're mostly luxuries, not neccessities.
        You can only pay for luxuries when you have spare money and we do not have spare money.

        Industries or individuals that really need high bandwidth to expand or receive services, can pay for it. The Medical (essential), Film and Game (not so essential) industries come to mind
        I'd rather the film and game industries concentrate on making GOOD content for a change before wasting everyone's internet connection on downloading garbage.

        There is nothing on the internet that makes me go, gee I wish my ADSL2+ was faster!
        Downloading games on Steam and Origin is fine, perhaps you should learn PATIENCE

        The thought of having all that bandwidth wasted on marketing big brother crap is depressing. Not to mention tracking store visitors or deliveries does not require high bandwidth.

          The internet is a luxury for you then... i challenge you sir cap your network speed at 8Mbits (im being generous most aussies barely get over 5) with 4+ people living in your home using the net consistently and try to keep up with the rest of your industry, friends and or the rest of the world.

          luxuries produce economic markets because they're something people want, do people need iPad's? no, do they get them?... yep...

          film industry - revenue $9 billion+ each year consistently from 2001 (that's just from the box office, doesn't include merchandise / partnership deals). Comparatively speaking the media market in Australia is relatively small compared to other countries, mainly consisting of dvd/bluray, why do other countries get netflix and we dont?
          - there wasn't good enough of an infrastructure to roll out high definition content to users therefore companies didnt bother investing too much as any solution would be second rate, and costly *cough* turnbulls fail-to-the-node
          - this combined with the fact that trade agreements would have to be renegotiated was too much of an effort.

          game industry - nets a little over $70 billion with the potential to jump to $83 billion by 2016 increasing as has been the trend since 2004. Read more here:
          http://www.develop-online.net/news/42997/Game-industry-worth-83bn-by-2016-research-claims
          Until recently there was no R18 rating in australia, developers would now have to employ more services with publishers to make games 'fit for release' under the MA rating. This has all but changed as of jan this year when a new rating system was made universal. The market is now open to small businesses and entrepreneurs that want to try their hand at game dev, leaving them to focus more on the content rather then fit criteria that publishers require. For a prime example chris roberts star citizen, while not based in australia, i expect to see other developers adopt similar models here should a high speed network come to fruition.

          Apologies the heading of 'deliveries' in my previous post was supposed to be Ecommerce i omitted a word but i was thinking it :p

            iPads are very useless, it says a lot about the public that they clamour for them.

            The film industry will need high bandwidth to deal with UHD video and having a distributed workforce, they along with the medical industry would benefit the most.
            The netflix thing is mostly because of licensing, but bandwidth would be necessary to foster such services here.

            My position is, the backbone of the country needs to be fiber and whether we go with Liberal or Labor, we're still going to get that, the libs aren't cancelling the NBN. Once that is done, then we can worry about fiber to the house, because the fact of the matter is not every home needs fiber yet, we can still use copper until it rots in the ground, and when it does, then replace it with fiber.
            If for some reason a business requires high bandwidth now, they can pay for it if they think the cost is less than what they would make from it.
            If your ancestors survived without high bandwidth internet, so can you, I'm not crying that my cat videos aren't loading quickly. Limitations spur innovation.

            I am a game developer and I can tell you now, internet bandwidth is NOT holding game devs back. Lack of funding, lack of high end talent and lack of creativity is why the Aussie game industry has not taken off yet.
            The recent adoption of a R18+ standard here will not open the floodgates for game devs, it just makes it easier for consumers. In fact, making an R18+ game just limits your audience, and just because your game has lots of blood and guts, does not make it a good or 'mature' game.
            High bandwidth will only make downloadable game distribution easier for consumers, but since the average game is 5-15gb and can be downloaded in a day, This as a big issue right now.

            Ecommerce does not require high bandwidth, if that were true then ebay, amazon, paypal shouldn't exist. The only people who'd really benefit from lightning fast connections are high finance traders, and they can fork up the extra money to wire up fiber to their business if they need it.

              @billie - The technology that is developed is a direct factor of the bandwidth available. If you look at the history of Google Maps, originally developed in Sydney, you will see that the increased bandwidth across the market at the time led to that innovation. Basically, across the board increases in consumer market bandwidth lead to innovation and growth in the tech sector. If we find ourselves behind other first world nations (guess what, we now are) then our tech sector is similarly behind. The difference is between our companies driving new waves of technology from a lead position, or foreign companies importing their innovation as we catch up bandwidth-wise.

              The mocking position you are taking on the needs of consumers ignores the fact that this is about competitive advantage across the tech sector on an international market. As a country with expensive wages, an innovative cutting edge tech sector is something we should be promoting.

              And as a game developer you should realise that upload speed can be quite important, especially with things like hosting servers. The Labor NBN could have a major impact just there.

              I DONT AGREE WITH TABLETS THEREFORE THEY ARE WRONG!

        ummm, ok:
        Ultraviolet: yes, because owning a virtual movie and streaming it on a 200mb FTTH is cheaper than buying blueray.
        Games: R18+ has nothing to do with speed.
        4K TV: really? analogue only got turned off at the start of this month in Adelaide, but if tech is moving so fast, when will fibre be out of date and too slow (2020?)
        Marketing: Interesting concept, except that:
        - raw data uses next to no data compared to video streaming
        - why wouldn't they do the processing in-house & localise it (via wifi)
        - privacy involved with accessing personal details
        Deliveries: Technology is there, but there's no reason to invest money in monitoring every time a courieer takes a dump, "you'll get it today" is often good enough

          Ultraviolet: but soon, it will be. Hell, you won't even PAY for the bluray, you'll just pay a fee/have it bundled with another service, and stream everything (see, XBOX music for an example)

          Games: it was a curveball, but its a money making business all the same (see the NVidia gaming cloud, shifting processing away from client machines could drastically cut end-user costs)

          4K tv: Look at adoption rates more than just 'b-but analogue just off!' People online want 4k? They'll get it. Since we're talking internet, not TV, it's not tied into as much existing infrastructure/standards/etc.

          Marketing: I think you're undervaluing the amount of raw marketing data that gets built up every day. I think target may end up being the one to tell you that your 16yo daughter is pregnant based on her spending habits.

          Deliveries: You'll get it today is awesome! So is 'currently at depot' on the other side of the country, even a week after it was sent back because no one answered your front door.

      Almost everything you wrote is a complete fabrication. Apart from your first point....follow the money...who stands to LOSE if the NBN goes ahead...pay tv and traditional media..that's who...you know...Turnbulls old paymaster?
      The service is required or of benefit to the country n many ways...the health department alone will save enough to pay for a large chunk of it...so too the police.
      The country isn't broke...we are stupidly wealthy....one of if not the wealthiest in the world.
      If the mining new is over why are so many mining companies expanding. I'm in electrical infrastructure and have 2 brother in laws in mining (we are all engineers/managers not grunts)..... Mining is doing just fine.
      We have borrowed stuff all....the increase to our GDP that an NBN would bring would help repay it (and we aren't paying for it with borrowed money...go read up on how it's being funded)
      Why would you waste money/time on further castings when it's so obviously positive from even basic costings? Btw NZ did a cost benefit analysis...an NBN for them would see benefits of over $32B pretty much enough to pay for ours....so please tell me how our massively larger GDP and population wouldn't see even greater benefits? http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2013/02/21/3695152.htm
      (also note in this article the poms compare the net rollout to them being left behind on rail...and also state that they will have 2/3rds FTTH on demand by 2016, so even comparing their FTTN to the coalition is deceitful...theirs is further along and in a better condition already)

      And if you think that's the only value that can be gained I'm glad you don't run anything. Faster connected government services capable of greater bandwidth interactions, decentralisation of business (so potentially huge impact on our inflated housing market) new industries and applications particularly in delivery to home users since its in every home (so tailored entertainment, distance education, e health, shopping, communication etc).
      If we have an NBN your reliance on OS uses will likely decrease...as the line goes...if you build it they will come. Services will move into Australia to service Australia as it will be worthwhile (or someone locally will set them up) look at the changes to Kansas City?

      You are as short sited as Abbott and biased and unfounded in your statements as the daily telegraph.

        lets make this VERY simple, businesses that can use 100mb/s connections ALREADY HAVE IT ... they've already paid for frame relay / ISDN or the like and use it ona daily basis (i.e. government & police & hospitals) ...
        so if it's already there, but expensive, then who stands to gain from it? internet geeks, sitting at home, wanting to play games, stream movies or download things that they dont NEED (and are often less than legal)

          I'm just going to resort to caps for this one...

          I DON'T SEE A USE CASE THEREFORE IT IS WRONG

          You're talking about new tech and ISDN and Frame Relay in the same breath? Are you mad? ISDN is only used for phones these days, and even there it's being phased out in favour of VoIP. Frame Relay is essentially obsolete, it was becoming obsolete at least ten years ago.

          The Coalition's policy has a built-in expiry date. It is a second-rate solution at best. When it is inevitably upgraded, whether that be in ten or twenty years' time, it will be to a solution using end-to-end fibre runs, since the physical fibre allows enormously higher bandwidth than copper, and with equipment upgrades (which would not involve digging additional holes in the ground) could be expanded well beyond what can be handled today.

          As for applications, the point here is that there are applications forthcoming that we have not yet dreamed of. Holographic projection? Streaming of multiple viewpoints of the same basic stream? Upload of modified streams for commentary? Video chart in high fidelity rather than the horrible compressed streams used today? Who knows what else will come?

          The trend over the last thirty years has been bandwidth always going up and technologies developing to fill that bandwidth. Technology may be spurred by limits, but it's also spurred by freedom. Have you ever tried viewing streaming video over a 34kbps modem connection? It's not a pretty sight.

          The new network is an INVESTMENT. Investments have a return. The return may not be entirely financial in nature. That is why governments are usually the ones to build large infrastructure projects - because the short term returns won't cover the strictly financial costs.

          The fact my local computer shop sits right next to the bloody exchange and still has internet problems resulting in reduced bandwidth proves we need to get off the copper.

    Imagine if the Abbott and Turnbull Coalition had been running the old Post Master Generals Dept when it rolled out the telephone network in Australia.
    They would have sold it off to a private company (e.g Telstra), and then insisted upon competition (e.g. Optus)
    So the competing companies would both have rolled out duplicated telephone wires to the same areas in the cities where they could make a profit, and then stopped when they ran out of profitable suburbs, just like Telstra and Optus did with HFC cable.

    Today, no country areas would have a phone line.

    100 years ago, the PMG had the vision and commonsense to realise they had to roll out their brand new technology copper telephone wires to a much of Australia as possible.

    In comparison to what the PMG achieved, the Coalition's plan is incredibly retarded and regressive.

      Not only that, in the suburbs the Coalition would have rolled out copper network to 'nodes' in each street, and then rolled out tin cans and string from the nodes to each house in the suburb.

    For the Coalition's NBN plan, it would've worked excellent if it were 10 or 20 years ago !!!! But NOW.....Seriously it won't WORK !!!! It will also COST A LOT MORE TO MAINTAIN IN FUTURE AS WELL, as eventually we'll have to dig those copper cables up and laid down fibre optic cables again which equals to MORE WORK AND SPENDING $$$$.

    Labor's FTTP is WAY more future proofing and it'll cost less to maintain in the future as every fibre optic cable are NEW, that way we can divert more resources into how we provide the service to each customer on the NBN.

    You forgot to mention:

    Telepresence: With applications in Medicine, Health, Education, Business communication & training. The benefits are already being demonstrated …

      And all that can be done today with today's broadband
      Webcams, video conferencing and screensharing already exist unless you're still on 56k
      People don't know how to use what they already have effectively

      It would be NICE if we could have 4k video streams that didn't drop out, but for the most part, what we have now is USABLE.

        a full 1080p stream requires 8Mbits up... yeah people are lucky to even get 2 please unless you're a true tech head dont comment on what you dont know as 100% fact

          Unless you're a doctor performing an operation, 1080p video streaming is not a necessity, it is a luxury. If you need high end bandwidth for your business to video conference, fork up the money.

          480p webcams work fine, if I can see and hear the other side, I'm fine.
          How did the world ever survive on letters and telephones!
          You're all spoilt brats and you don't know how to use what you already have :P

            You are an idiot who has no idea what anybody else's internet speeds and needs are besides your own. Stop commenting on technical subjects.

            You also love going back to a pointless statement of us not needing technology. Sure, whatever, you're right. Lets just pack it all up and go back to living in a hunter gatherer society because it's not necessary right?

              Dont call people an idiot unless you know you're right ... you can have 100mb/s connection speeds RIGHT NOW, IN YOUR HOME ... but you've got to pay for it ... if you NEED IT, pay for it - if you WANT IT, then maybe you should think about how better PUBLIC money could be spent (i.e. those without a roof over their head) ...

                I *could* have 100mbit where I am? Esp if I paid for it?

                TELL ME HOW, LORD OF INTERNET CONNECTION! I would love to know how you'd manage that.
                -Satellite doesn't hit that speed
                -No fibre/cable DSL in my neighbourhood
                -under a meg a second due to bad copper
                -I don't get telstra 4G at home.

                Your turn.

                both Squidz and billie are idiots

                I know I'm right, the majority of lifehacker agree with me which makes it so.

              while i agree that people can be ignorant of things berating them and using sarcasm will never solve the problem, not to mention the interwebs is a trolls playground :p ... however if people are genuinely stating an opinion because they are mislead if we can enlighten enough people we may still get our fibre :)

            Who needs the luxury of a new fangled toilet and all those pipes *inside* the house when a bucket in the back garden does the same job!

            Myopia seems to be considered a counter-argument these days.

    Latest I've heard is that Turnbull was talking about node distances; the 200-300m he was mentioning was line of sight distance!

    That means your actual cable distance could still be upwards of 1km - no different to your average ADSL2 connection, you'll be lucky if you even get 25mbps out of your connection.

    Go the liberal SBN! (Sh*t Broadband Network!)

    Alternatively: Admit they have used up their share of the economic wealth that would have paid for fiber optic for everyone and plan to blow our share on pay rises.

    Good Morning!
    As demondownunder's @demondownunder submission absolutely highlighted his/her "priorities" - ipso facto my main case rests. "Games and movies" ........................

    The principal points made in my earlier post remain unanswered. We don't need rhetoric, we need intelligent data.
    To point out again, BELIEF isn't enough - we need actual facts. By people who've been there, done that. Enough of the fox advising the chickens on security!
    1. We don't need untold billions invested in "games and movies" download speeds.
    2. Anyone who thinks we are in great shape financially doesn't know anyone over 30 who has been fired and tried to get back into the workforce. Or, a kid of 19 trying to beat a job at a fastfood joint.
    They certainly don't realise that the money from mining is from selling the golden goose. Where do you think the actual money comes from (and worse, goes back to) to finance the mining industry?
    What has the mining industry done for you and me lately? The majors are backing out right now because the big crash is on its way.
    VIS: Japan is nearly out of the game, now printing monopoly money like the USA, China is in a frantic rush to make up for the useless US Dollars its owed by creating its own internal currency as it has woken up to the fact that all the gold in Fort Knox is long gone.

    YOU don't need the high speed technology reason that it always trotted out, hospitals could do with it, Oz businesses don't, the actual real world needs are very few and could be met by an old trick: supply the meat to the soldiers, let the others wait.
    Finally:
    All technology is advancing at undreamed of rates. Its cost is falling at the same rates.
    Most non-essential communication is by IPad. In a year PC's will be nonexistent. Unwired technology used by the clandestine organisations is Science Fiction to us only for the moment.

    We survived the last min-Depression because we still didn't owe more than we were earning, thanks to mining and the pittance it left for us and low interest rates which allowed us to fake it.. That is over.
    We're ok? Tell that to the cops that were fired in Qland. Or the Nurses fired and still waiting to be paid. Or the 44% of teenagers unable to get full-time work.

    Anyone noticed that Greece and Italy are similar population commercial entities to us?

      Finally, someone with sensible priorities
      It's good to see someone else realises we're in for a world of economic hurt (along with everyone else)

      But I guess watching cat videos and gangnam style remixes on youtube in 4K is more important! I'm a uni student! I don't know anything about reality! Everything grows on trees! Gimme gimme gimme!

        Im a uni student that knows network engineering and knows a hell of a lot more about telecommunications infrastructure, and what technological innovation has done for all industries then you do. Though thanks for making me sound like a spoiled child it only presents your inability to state fact and slanted perspective in an even greater light. Akin to donning a jester hat and dancing butt naked gangnam style in front of the tech community.

          Yeah, I can tell you're a uni student :P

          You need to brush up on economics, otherwise don't be surprised when our country looks like Greece or Spain in a few years time, we need to become self sufficient first. We can't invest in 4k cat videos. The costs outweigh the benefits, that's just how it is.

          How did the world ever survive without internet lol

            He's not the only one who needs to brush up on economics. So does anyone who makes ridiculous comparisons with Greece or Spain. Our economies are structurally and fundamentally different - not least because our levels of public and government debt are, in fact, among the lowest in the world. Historically, they are at low levels even by our own great standards - we've certainly been a lot worse off and still survived comfortably.

            Stop drinking the Abbott kool aid, or at least save it for your next BBQ with your mates, who might swallow this nonsense. Because here and now, you're making a fool of yourself.

              concur we are not greece, everytime we're under duress we cant go to the germans and get money from them because of what the nazis did...

          Wow, you're a STUDENT ... ok, lets talk credentials, I have 15+ years in technology, I've spent 5 years working at telstra in their back end testing area (yes, all of the technical programing and physical cable work) ... I have since gained corporate finance, analysis and project experience - AND I COULD NOT HAVE PUT IT BETTER MYSELF!!

            you agree that he was donning a jester hat and dancing butt naked gangnam style in front of the tech community... thanks for the support :) oh and as to himagain's 2nd point:
            - my father was employed at IBM age: 51
            - trying to get myself back out into the industry after a 2 year battle with cancer age:24
            So yeah i do know people there looking for and finding work i know if you put in the effort/labour anything is possible.
            Also in a years time the PC will be non-existent... yeah no not gonna happen, perhaps for gamers maybe but in most other applications they'll be sticking around for at least another 2-3 years.

            "I've spent 5 years working at telstra in their back end testing area"

            You can stop talking now, We already know we won't get any legitimate argument from you.

            The telstra employed linesmen would call you out on your bullshit, but they are too busy fixing the failing copper network (waiting to be made redundant and replaced by barely trained subbies)

      I gave you some answers but i suppose that doesnt fit your agenda..

      If you knew anything about the industry at all you would know that the cost of the technology for fttp isnt even 10% of te total cost - most of it is in labour costs.. You know.. Providing jobs for people who arent in mining?

      Further to that point then, do you think building it later is then going to cost less? Are we all going to be working for $2 an hour? Labour costs are rising last time i checked meaning it will get more expensive every year we put it off..

      Technology doesnt advance unless the tools are there to facilitate it. Whats the point in making leading edge technology that cant run on anything? By your reasoning we wouldnt have the internet at all, because we wouldnt have built the infrastructure it runs on.

      If youre advocating for the Liberal SBN, then heres what needs maintaining:

      Labour FTTP: replacing damaged fibre strands

      Liberal FTTN:
      Replacing damaged fibre strands
      Replacing damaged copper strands
      Replacing / repairing 60,000+ damaged node cabinets
      Replacing / repairing approx 480,000 connection points
      Replacing 480,000 backup batteries every 2 years - and paying the landfill costs that go with it
      Supplying electricity to 60,000+ node cabinets
      Labour costs from telstra to maintain all if the above.
      And thats not even all of it. They havent even factored in what theyre going to have to pay telstra to buy the last mile copper - they said they expect telstra to give it ti them for free!!!! A FTTN network will leave us with nothing but a network for movies and games - thats all it could handle. FTTP would make positive gains for our economy - go and find the studies on the GDP increases.

      Armchair economists should leave this stuff to the techs.

        The internet was designed for existing infrastructure aka telephone lines. They're just connected by equipment that forms the internet backbone, if they had to build a whole new network for the internet, it wouldn't have existed. Limitations spur innovation.

        And yes, technology does make things cheaper
        If you wanted to dig a trench in 2000 BC, you had to have a lot of slaves.
        If you want to dig the same trench today, an earthmover will do the trick.
        What if there's a breakthrough in quantum computing where networking can be done with quantum entanglement. Suddenly all your fiber optic is obsolete.

        Now I'm not suggesting we're on the cusp of a technological breakthrough, but a wait n see approach is more economically sensible as we do not know what demands users will need in the future. Having the backbone as fiber is a good start, and it can always be expanded in future as need arises.

          Er, you can plug equipment that makes use of quantum technology to each end of the optical fibre and massively increase the security and speed of the data being transmitted on that fibre. Its just matter of time.

          "What if there's a breakthrough in quantum computing where networking can be done with quantum entanglement. Suddenly all your fiber optic is obsolete."

          Please don' talk about things you don't understand :(

            Nah man, didn't you hear? If we get FTTP, fibre is obviously going to made immediately redundant by quantum entanglement! As Squidz, he'll tell you the same thing!

          I was not "designed for" it is "limited by".

        "fttp isnt even 10% of te total cost - most of it is in labour costs.."
        hmm, if memory serves correctly, a standard cabinet is 500-1000 (more for a RIM PGS), most within 3km of exchange & connections upto 4km from there to premesis ...
        4km x 1000 is more than 3km x 1 - my maths may be wrong though ...

          Not sure exactly what youre talking about with that - i doubt you do either..

          If you have read any documentation at all from NBNCo you would know that the infrastructure costs are minimal - All the rest are in labour costs to run the cables.

          The cabinets if thats what you are talking about probably up to four times as much as the fibre ones as they need power, batteries and cooling among other things - fibre boxes have the junction points, thats it.

      Again more rubbish. You do realise mining is an incredibly small industry in Australia right? Our biggest is retail and tourism. So all this complaining about mining about to end (completely false btw) isn't going to destroy us. And if it did wouldnt it be nice to have the tools to start new industries?

      Since retail is our biggest then it's obvious that the greatest employers are those that service Aussies....the NBN for all your complaints about 'games and movies' will create new businesses to support Aussies.

      And all your final stuff about cops and nurses being fired...that's a lib government...the federal one claims they are going to bring us economic prosperity while hockey said he wants to sack over 10,000 public servants on day 1. How is that good for the economy?

      All you keep spewing is doom and gloom with no vision...and you a liberal party/Murdoch stooge? Because that's what it seems.

        Retail would be selling amongst ourselves mostly, and practically ALL our products come from china now. Tourism would be luring wealth from outside of Australia.
        When the global economy goes down the toilet, what's going to happen to both these industries? lol

        Australia is VERY dependent on the rest of the world, not a good strategy for an island nation.
        We need to become self sufficient again, we need manufacturing, we need agriculture to cope with climate change.
        4K cat videos? eh, that can wait...
        It's not doom and gloom, it's called reality.

        But somehow people will have money for movies and games, I guess

          Actually when times get tough people cut costly discretionary spending and rely on cheaper forms of entertainment. When the GFC hit EBs at my brothers store (fairly low socio economic area) maintained their revenues. Restaurants on the other hand.....

          And when the global economy goes down the toilet? That already happened. (Nope...no doom and gloom from you) And our two main employers etc survived (while mining shed people at the slightest dip)

          Why would anyone become self sufficient in a global society? You want us to make tvs do you? Or design the systems that run on them? I know which one pays more. How are we 'very dependant' btw? We make our own food and energy...the rest is all luxury right? You keep saying that.

          FYI adding "lol" to then of what you believe are legitimate points doesn't serve to strengthen them. What are you, 12?

          ALL our products come from China?!

          Oh, dear.

            yep those marinos that we've got an embargo on cuz they only exist in australia... china mustve genetically engineered one by now XD

      The cops fired in Queensland? By Campbell Newman, the Liberal premier with no checks on his power? Exactly what Abbott will be doing if he wins both houses, you mean?

      So are you suggesting not building an NBN at all then?

      Have you read up on how the current NBN is being financed? Are you aware of how this is differs from Govt expenditure on services like health, roads, etc?

    I always saw FTTN as method of getting improved access to the masses while still allowing for FTTH as step 2. Surely once fibre is to a node the copper can be replaced at a later date with fibre or what ever the next best last mile technology is in 20 years. I support FTTN because it is the only way my home will get improvement over ADSL1 before 2030, all those that are on ADSL2 I just don't understand why the NBN is upgrading your suburb before mine :-) Oh you are in a labor electorate ... oh I get it.

      ADSL2+ speed is dependent on 2 things:
      - Quality of the Line
      - Distance from the exchange
      (NOTE: coincidentally ADSL 1 does not suffer as much degradation over the same distance but you will never get any more speed using copper lines).

      You will ONLY get 12Mbits+ down if you are living within the first 1km of the exchange, also this is provided that the lines are in good condition. I live 3km away equidistant from 2 exchanges i barely get 6MBit down and perhaps 1 up. The thing is i can remember 2 years ago when my speeds where 10Mbit down and 3 up... Translation... Copper degrades, using any of this stuff in a new infrastructure that is supposed to last 20+ years is and i quote "Stephen Conroy: The dumbest thing you could do".

      Could the copper be replaced at a later date, lets assume that it can (hopefully the coalitions plan at least takes that into consideration). Will it be done for free? no you'll be up for between $2000-5000 depending on the speed you want, that's assuming that there is a majority group of households in your area that also want it. This is also assuming that labour costs do not increase (wishful thinking) and that the network is still under NBNco and has not already been sold off to the private sector... remember the same private sector that services us oh so well and can charge whatever they feel like...

      They aren't in labor electorates...that's complete rubbish. The split is fairly even... There might be a slight skew because of the initial tassie rollouts (and tassie has no lib seats) essentially all rural rollouts are lib/nat seats (apart from windsors) and plenty of rural places are getting it...coffs just up the road from me is being rolled out now...nationals seat.

      Will you quit with the lies/telegraph talking points

    Politically, the Coalition approach is a more 'user pays' one, where if you want to go the extra mile (pun intended) then you can pay for it. Otherwise be happy that you will get at least double the speeds you're getting today over the existing copper wires - all of it at taxpayer's expense. Whereas, Labour's approach, like so many things, is to get the taxpayer to pay for everything regardless of the commercial realities and need.

    The FTTN approach allows for further upgrading later. It is no different to when I installed Bigpond cable and had to pay for the cable from the street into my house. So I paid Telstra to go the extra mile to get cable broadband speeds - exactly the same approach the Coalition is taking with the NBN.

    The current NBN is behind schedule and will almost certainly end up costing far far more than the $37bn that Conroy is claiming, which means that Labour will leave the Coalition a massive headache when it forms a new government in September..

      Yes, and the coalitions broadband plan has hidden costs not accounted for.. approx 5 billion a year to maintain - labours will cost less than a billion.

      Add to that the fact that all the things that supposedly will make labours plan cost the so called 90 billion will happen under the coalitions, putting their real cost at probably 75-80 billion with no benefits to GDP unlike labours.

      They're pulling the wool over your eyes an you're falling for it hook line and sinker.

      Why will it end up costing more? Treasury don't agree with you.

      Also the user pays at a later date totally destroys the economies of scale savings we get from doing it for everyone.

    FOCUS PEOPLE, FOCUS!!
    Who is the beneficiary in real terms of this insane plan to spend 100 BILLION PLUS ( almost a law that Govt. expenditure triples in cost after approval).
    None of the "benefits" translate into dollars in pockets of the saps paying for it.
    EXCEPT for hospitals (and very iffy at that) where is there any real CASH in the plebian pockets to come from?
    WHILE they are paying for it in lousy PHYSICAL transport structure?

    OK - last silly real world example then I'm off to the beach......
    Trains and buses are the absolute lowest cost transport possible. Least infrastructure cost and maintenance compared to cars.
    ANYONE care to argue that?
    There is one saying that is used by hustlers all the time: "Build it and they will come".
    Only true about highways and tunnels and bridges never to be finished paying for.......
    Oh wait. Even last few tunnels in Oz all went broke. Small miscalculations - people didn't want them. A bit like the question here.
    Everyone is focused on the prestidigitation.

      Focus yourself. Who stands to benefit by killing off the NBN? Go back and address my other reply from last night instead of spewing the same tripe.

      And again....you aren't paying for it...the future fund is...instead of investing in Phillip Morris shares its investing in national infrastructure. (Hospital being iffy.....do you just ignore every expert and then blindly quote $100B made up figures?)

      Last edited 14/04/13 12:15 pm

      Your assumption is people dont want the NBN...

      http://michaelwyres.com/2012/05/does-australia-really-want-the-nbn/

      I'm pretty sure we do well at least if the consensus from 2012 hasnt changed... sure cheaper would be nicer, but ONLY if liberal can deliver the same, speeds, reliability, access time and service while maintaining the cost, which they cannot and will never be able to do because their plan is fundamentally/conceptually flawed.

      Last edited 14/04/13 1:40 pm

        I don't think anyone is arguing cutting the NBN entirely, that would be unwise.

        What is at issue here is what makes sense financially for our needs, and yes that also means compromising. FTTN can be expanded to FTTP at a later date when it makes sense financially
        Do we get the Labor government to buy a Ferrari for every household too?

          FTTN will cost MORE. How can you not understand this?
          It will cost grossly more in the long run and more in the short term.

          Another article in that link demondownunder posted http://michaelwyres.com/2013/03/turnbull-suggests-eighteen-billion-dollars-is-not-material/
          True cost of FTTN is $51b in that article when considering moderate maintenance cost.
          Optus and Telstra spent enough in the past 10 years to pay for the NBN etc.

          FTTN is NOT cheaper, is inferior in speeds, reliability and maintenance.....can you actually show a single win for FTTN over the NBN? Ever the much touted 'faster' is pretty pathetic...faster by 2 years....whoop de do.

          Last edited 14/04/13 3:14 pm

            Thanks for the link, I will read it
            If FTTN has sizeable hidden costs, then FTTP is more logical

            I wish the public could pick what policy works best for each national issue
            I don't like either party's set of polices to be honest

              If all you've done is read the liberal's fttn documents, then you have no idea how many hidden costs there are.

              FTTN will guaranteed cost more than FTTP by a long shot within 5 years of operation. Our copper system was never meant to carry data - only voice. Telstra had stated themselves years ago that we are flogging a dead horse.

              Also, pretty much every piece of equipment needed to run data through copper is not needed with fibre, no powered nodes, battery backups, and the cabinets themselves. We WILL have to go to fibre in the future, its an indisputable fact so rolling out anything other than fibre now and we will be wasting billions every year.

              There isn't a single country in the world using FTTN that can achieve average speeds over 70mbps on copper, fibre runs over 1000 already.

                Telstra said that when they expected to get the FTTP contract ...
                Check the degradation rate of copper, around 0.7mm per 280 years, it's not eroding, the maintenance isn't massive and we have the qualified people to repair it in the country now ...

                Cable example is a good one, provide the capacity, if people want it, they'll pay for it ...

                  280 years?!?!?!? Wow. Where did you get that from?

                  Its widely known that copper only have a "quality" life of thirty years. Care to provide the proof to back up?

                  Didnt think so.

              First sensible thing you've said here all day :p Aux already listed most costs in an earlier post (although he did miss one i.e. labors NBN is going to install 60,000 'cabinets' as well which will require maintenance).

              However, apologies of my criticism to your analysis, i was under the impression that your were in possession of all the facts (including the so called 'hidden' costs). To clarify costs haven't been hidden at all they've just been omitted in the fact that once it's complete they'll sell it back to the private sector for a percentage of cost... as ive said before the same private sector that services us oh so well and can charge whatever they feel like... that's the real reason behind the $27 billion coalition plan. That and they plan to not service the areas that already have HDLC. Of course within that plan they haven't included the fact that maintaining copper costs a lot more then fibre or that the price of upgrading to fibre once sold to the private sector will probably be astronomical...

              Last edited 14/04/13 5:47 pm

                Correct : )
                Unforunately im in one of those HFC areas so although my speeds will be higher than what FTTN is capable of ill still be paying through the nose for it..

                I was aware of the FTTP cabinets (fdh boxes i think) but left it out as the only maintenance thats really required is on the fibre inside them : )

              Wow a concession.
              There's plenty of documentation indicating the FTTN is awful from an economic perspective.
              There is also the fact the NBN was originally a national party policy and when FTTN was even considered by labor the Nats were up in arms (google Fiona Nash and fraudband) then after Abbott and the idea of saying no to everything took hold suddenly they were all against it...if it wasn't viable or was a waste of time in 2009 how is it possibly worthwhile to be your policy now?

              Edit to add link : http://www.fionanash.com.au/Media/MediaReleases/tabid/84/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/213/LABORS-RURAL-FRAUDBAND.aspx

              Last edited 15/04/13 9:04 am

              I imagine there'd be more than a few people intending to vote LNP who're horrified at their NBN proposal. it's an unfortunate by-product of Mr Abbott's "oppose everything at all cost" mentality.

              The liberal plan balloons to a huge extent when you realise that the majority of copper from the node to the home will actually require replacing to service VDSL. 0.35-0.45mm is NOT adequate.

      Focus on the money he says....how's this for focusing on the money?

      http://australiansforhonestpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/why-are-pay-tv-providers-and-news-limited-so-afraid-of-the-nbn-final-words-for-a-dying-beast/

    Tony Abbott is a chump. Copper is 20th century, fibre is 21st, full stop. Vote for Labour.

    Whichever party gets their way, I think there will be a lot of waste
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvFWQYiR-DM

      Go live in a hippy commune and let us be spoilt brats.

      Or kill yourself. Either works for me. Stop polluting the gene pool.

        I don't agree with him, either - but that response is childish, mean spirited and completely uncalled for.

          I believe he was invoking darwinism.

      A nice analogy would be:
      -Coalition: you've just supplied a 70 yr old holding up a 1 tonne boulder with a backbrace
      -Labor: build a crane attach it to the boulder an let the aging person retire an put their feet up

      of course there will be waste so you look at the facts:

      1. Which will be better over the long term? labor NBN

      2. Why? because in terms of consistency, speed, maintenance costs it trumps liberals plan

      3. Why is this better? Because while the initial cost of going liberal will be less, no one is denying this fact, the cost of upgrading later still depends on eliminating copper from the network.
      Essentially you're buying a copper network, selling it back to the private sector to make up the loss from installing said 'backbrace' with the knowledge that 'person' is going to retire (or be crushed) in the next 4 to 6 years anyway.

      4. Ok so over the long term the price of fibre will remain consistent right? that is if we choose to upgrade now or tomorrow it'll be the same price right?... wrong, while the price of manufacturing tech goes down over time the labour costs required to install the tech are rising, not to mention the infrastructure is now owned by a private entity that can charge w/e it likes to make up the cost from losing other sources of revenue (a.k.a if we go fibre, cable becomes obsolete, foxtel).

      Add to this the cost of the original upgrade +$800 million per year to keep the copper maintained until fibre is actually bought in... So then we all look back and realize in hindsight it wouldve been cheaper to just upgrade 'build a crane' in the first place...

      Last edited 15/04/13 2:41 pm

    Side note, 100mb/s * $1.75 / gb = $15,120 per day for excess usage if you leave your torrents running!!

    You all forget that we are in massive debt.

      Now is a good time to borrow to implement economic enhancing infrastructure such as telephony/networking and enhancements to education and healthcare.

      http://www.afr.com/p/national/former_rudd_costello_adviser_calls_Dzv3zZji4EBRmHHmDUPcLI

    If I could get FTTN with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDSL2 soonish, I will happily wait 5-10 years for FTTP.

      Unfortunately, you'll never get those speeds on copper in Aus. The majority of homes connected will have a cable distance over 500m, then reduce that speed because of the age of the copper etc.. VDSL works well in other countries because their population densities are far higher, and therefore cable lengths shorter.

      VDSL2 tests are mostly done on bonded copper also which means they're running double the copper pairs - unless the libs are going to install double the copper into every home its not useable.

      As i've said before, there is not one single country using FTTN with average speeds over 70mbps.

        An average FTTN speed of 70Mbps before vectoring is running? That does seem to be unlikely. If the aim is an average of 70Mbps after vectoring, you want to be looking at places that currently average 40-50Mbps.

        I'm in the UK, on a 400 metre line - a single pair of old copper (house dates back to late 1800's). I currently get 80Mbps down and 20Mbps up. Vectoring will easily give me a 100Mbps line - using that same single pair.

        We don't get the option of using bonded pairs in the UK, and we don't yet have vectoring (but it is on BT's roadmap). Our average distance to the cabinet is around 500 metres - and people in the 500-600 metre distance seem to get speeds of 50-60Mbps, though some are in the 40's (especially if they have aluminium in their lines).

        The latest Ofcom report on broadband speeds here shows that the average speed in November 2012, for those using fibre "superfast" services (FTTC, not cable), is 41Mbps, even though a good proportion of people remain on the more restricted 40/10 package rather than the full 80/20 package.

        Looking at the prospect that the vectoring trials show (google "alcatel techzine vdsl2 vectoring delivers promise"), it looks like our average speed (ie the speed of the 500 metre average line) capability could well be around 80-100 Mbps.

        Oh - and the percentage of the Australian population living in urban areas: 89%.
        Population of UK living in urban areas: 90%

        I don't doubt that your last 10% is *way* harder to reach than ours, but the rest is in comparable density.

    We can always get the optic fibre from the cabinets to our houses later if needed. Lets get it to the cabinets as a priority (ie, faster than 10 year) so more people can benefit sooner.

    PS. If you get have done work for NBN Co you will know it can be done cheaper from a tax payers perspective ;-)

      Enjoy parting ways with up to $5000 instead of $0( installation is free for standard hardware installations) under the fttp plan.

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