The NBN: What Happens From Now Until 2014

The NBN: What Happens From Now Until 2014

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull held a press conference this afternoon to discuss what happens next with the National Broadband Network (NBN), an issue that has been on everyone’s mind since the Coalition took power. The good news? The rollout of fibre-to-the-premises will continue in the near term and there will be active work to connect premises which are passed by NBN fibre but not currently linked to it. The bad news? It looks like that number is much lower than NBN Co last projected, and we don’t yet have fixed timing for the planned 60-day strategic review of the NBN rollout.

As expected, the government wants a 60-day strategic review of current NBN rollouts and costs. That, however, won’t happen until a new board has been appointed. There had been speculation that Turnbull would announce board members today, but that didn’t happen. Even if the board was announced tomorrow, a 60-day review would take us close to Christmas.

Until that changeover, NBN Co will continue to roll out work that has been contracted. In practical terms, that means if an NBN truck has recently been in your street, you should be able to get a fibre-to-the-premises connection. That could amount to as money as 300,000 more connections. Turnbull is also keen for the estimated 66,000 premises which have been passed by fibre but not actually connected to be hooked up. The eventual goal is to have weekly figures released on premises passed.

The downside? According to Turnbull, the number of premises that NBN Co is scheduled to pass by June 2014 is apparently going to be revised downwards by almost half. That means that if you’re on the NBN Co rollout map for a date in the near future, you may be waiting longer.

The Coalition’s policy was to have the basic rollout completed by 2016. Whether that can be achieved won’t be clear until after the strategic review.

The announcement was, by NBN-related standards, relatively devoid of political bickering. Turnbull even stepped back from the pre-election Coalition positioning that using VDSL would definitely be used, saying whatever technology was suitable and affordable would be used: “We’ve envisioned an example of that in our policy documents . . . We are not dogmatic about technology. Technology is not an ideological issue.”

Turnbull’s key message? “It’s early days, watch this space. It is a very difficult and complex project” I wouldn’t start assuming we’ll see a full switch back to FTTP, but it’s a more relaxed approach than the hardline pre-election stances might have made you think.


  • Yes, because the reviews and audits of the NBN will be completely impartial and fair and not out for Labor’s blood at all. They will completely honestly reach the conclusion that not only is FTTN the correct way to proceed, but that we are a bunch of drooling idiots for thinking that FTTH was a better plan to begin with.

    • So just a question for you sir.

      If FTTH was able to be rolled out for the same price and time as FTTN, would you still say FTTN is better?

      If you you say no, so you would stick with FTTH in that scenario, at what price/time increase would you propose the plan is switched to FTTN? Where is the line?

      • Sorry, I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re asking me. I’m most certainly not in favour of FTTN. I think it’ll be a massive waste of time and money in the long run. I’m in favour of going the extra mile and upgrading straight to FTTH, despite the added time and cost. My initial post was intended to express sarcasm at the idea that a full audit of the NBN by the Coalition will produce anything other than exactly what they want to hear – namely that Labor’s NBN was a waste and that their FTTN policy is the better option.

        If FTTH really was about to take 30 years to finish and cost upwards of $90 billion, then yes I think FTTN may be justified, but since those numbers were just BS scare tactics during the election campaign, I say roll on the FTTH rollout!

        • Ah, sorry I didn’t pick up on your sarcasim. Damn it, been looking for a pro FTTN person to respond to my question. I seem to be the only one on the net asking it, and it’s a damn good question that makes you actually backup their crap with facts that actually stand up (which I have yet to see)

  • “That could amount to as money as 300,000 more connections. ”

    as much as 300,000?

    Mmmmmm money.

  • Can someone clarify my situation?

    The nbnco website says that construction is due to commence in one year. Clicking on the info node says it is due to start July 2013. Does this mean they’re going to finish it in my neighborhood?


    • If the contracts have already been signed you’ll be good. Probably just delayed. Not sure how you can confirm this though.

  • In the press conference Turnbull mentioned that some of the ‘in one year’ dates were nowhere near completed planning, so would be dealt with after the review. Only where things are locked in will any date shown matter – so you won’t be able to tell from just being within the range, you’d need to know if the planning has actually been done in your area and contracts signed.

    I’d be worried if you haven’t seen a truck near you rolling fibre out recently.

    (supposed to be a reply to @blaket)

  • The major problem with all the so called experts reporting and talking about this is that not one of them have any practical experience in how the cables are run, installed or how they are connected and powered.

    Not one of them.

    That is just the mechanical side of it.

    Then of course you have connection side and the infrastructure of the whole electronic digital side backing it all up (the cloud is not in the cloud like some would think).

    Not one of them know anything about the practical side of this either.

    This is another part of the basics behind how communications via wire, optics and wireless work.

    These so called experts are either financial engineers, public relations consultants or political lobbyists. Look very closely at what they say and you will find it is all motherhood statements that have been generated for them on a fact sheet (which in fact, is not fact, just more PR, BS and spin).

    We need expert engineers in optic, wireless and internet communications and of course the financial people to back that up, not the dinosaur’s and backward lookers we have now.

  • I think this would just be a wast of money and time. Australians want better service in terms of speed and price of the plan. I’m waiting for this to happen. And if not, then coalition should stop all these changes.

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