The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness

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It is astonishing to me who far wrong people's knowledge of the NBN is (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). I can only assume that the press has done a poor job in educating, though I suspect much is from the Coalition's misleading Press Releases (which were not fact checked).
1. The NBN is less than $40 Billion
2. The money isn't being spent by taxpayers, it is being loaned to NBNCo and then repaid with a 7.1% return
3. If even 30% of CURRENT internet traffic went pure 3G/4G wireless, the speed of the connection would drop to that of dialup because wireless is a shared medium.
4. The rate of demand for internet bandwidth is growing exponentially. In 10 years, 100Mbps will be too slow for most.
FTTN ULL access regime might consider Node slot allocation for third party ( The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20).
Then ULL region / Band for metro & region should be reduce to single band ie. around Band 1.
Cost of TEBA should reduce but cannot let bottleneck monopoly by NBNCo.
Build everything except for access cards. This would make FTTN cheaper and the access infrastructure would be provided by Access Seeker.
Crazy maybe...
Mike Westerman, a few minor flaws in your argument (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20) - the first being your assumption that 6 million subscribers take up the NBN - given that the take up is around 12.5% of the households that it currently passes I would think this is highly unlikely.
The second problem is whether the cost will end up at $60 billion, it could end up at $100 billion - that would result in debt servicing of $6 billion in interest alone a year, without paying off the debt. Assume they get 6 million subscribers that means that each subscriber has to pay $1,000 a year ($83per month) for their connection to just service the interest payments on the borrowings. (even on your numbers it is $600 per annum or $50 per month)
The third is the ongoing operating costs to run the NBN - including depreciation and repairs and maintenance which will run into additional billions which you have not factored into the equation.
Would any sane person you invest in such a venture? Guess what we all have!
@ Charles Harper: "How much speed do we need?" - It doubles every few years (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20).
@ Tony Sheppard - Wireless won't suffice. Wireless needs fibre.
The NBN doesn't cost $60million.
@ Peter Watson: The NBN doesn't cost $100million
@ Mathew p: The NBN solution disolves the Telstra Wholesale and Retail drama. NBNco is only Wholesale. It cannot operate a retail business. Telstra can.
@ Roger Kelly. Wireless needs fibre. With every improvement to wireless, there is an equal improvement to fibre. Fibre is decades ahead of wireless in what it can provide.
@ Greg Lund: Can I have a reference as to why you think NBNco's FTTH is globally uncompetitive? All figures actually point to the opposite.
@ Paul Perry: The need for bandwidth doubles every couple of years.
@Geoffrey Luck: Agreed. Connecting to MDU's isn't easy. Though is doable. Having a fibre node in the basement is feasible, but depends on the quality of the copper in the building whether it is effective or not. Copper in older buildings would have to be replaced anyway. Unfortunately the coalition aren't saying having the node in the basement for MDU's. The are stating having nodes in the street like everywhere else. A node, as big as a fridge. For every 2nd street. All having to be provided with 240V. All having to have battery backup. All having to be removed in the future when fibre eventually goes to the premisis, or when some wireless technology is finally invented that will handle the speeds we need. Many Many holes in that plan. And the chant of 'cheaper' and 'faster' is, if you look at the data, extremely misleading. FTTH is actually dearer to maintain (old copper) and run (electricity). 75% of the cost of the NBN rollout, is Labour. Labour that will have to be utilised again once any FTTN becomes old. As it currently is. Other countries are ditching FTTN. And Australia has a population density of 2.91/sqkm (2010). Unlike any other country that has FTTN. NZ has ditched it too.... aw
No-one, but no-one in my area of WA thinks that the current internet is 'OK' ( The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). We all think that the speeds provided are akin to dial up about 10 years ago in more tech savvy areas of the world. ANYTHING that can be done to speed up the internet would be greatly appreciated. It's like living in the stone age and anyone who thinks that this is fine clearly is!
Alan,
I can see that new technology will one day allow the network to run faster than that available on the NBN FTTH (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20).
I assume that instead of GigE speeds all the geeks will be crying out for the new system at PetE speeds.
We will see the smearing of that terrible service provider, the NBN. We will demand that it be sold off and split up so that a PetE backbone can be installed at taxpayer expense.
That long running, old technology news service, Business Spectator, will be threatened by the new 3D holograms projected from the new Chinese owned SPECTRA service. The Geeks with scream for SPECTRA, no more BS, that is for old people.
"Why would I want 3D TV when I can get a hologram right in my living room?", scream the geeks. "Who going to pay for it?", says the taxpayer. "Just upgrade the switching technology on the fibre", says the Geeks. "We don't want to", says the NBN, "unless someone pays for it."
"Just print more money, create more bureaucracy, tax more etc., we MUST have holograms", say the Geeks.
Alan, Abbott has announced that he will ask the Productivity Commission to examine the NBN and offer recommendations for optimising (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness) - ie lower the cost to the public, optimise the bandwith and coverage and ensure sustainable competition (ie how to deal with the world's first new government owned telco monopoly in 50 years). Seems pretty sensible to me. Your recommendations seem like a lame acceptance of one of the worst pieces of public policy seen in Australia since World War II.
For all those saying that WiFi will soon match fibre you do realise that fibre can carry 14 TERABITS per second over 160 kilometers (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, august 20)? That isn't going to happen via WiFi/4(5,6,7,8,9)G in my lifetime or your lifetime (and probably not your grandchildrens)
Alan, I couldn’t agree with you more (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). There are a lot of issues with the way the NBN has been conceived and run to this point but it is infrastructure that Australia needs. For the parts of Australia that don’t need it now, they will need it in the near future – it’s necessary. Let’s not forget the reason the NBN came to be is because the Liberals privatised Telstra and let market competition fall by the way-side, so why trust Liberals now to let competition ‘fix’ the horrible state of our copper infrastructure? Also, I’'ve said it before and I’'ll say it again – any person who claims wireless will make the NBN redundant is completely and utterly out of touch with reality and basic facts. Wireless is a shared medium – learn and understand what this means in today’s bandwidth hungry world or keep out of the argument.
I am surprised for the second week in a row (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20), that a person claiming to be so business oriented, is so focussed on supporting the politics of the NBN scheme. Between now and the election, given the pace the sector and its accompaning technology is developing, there will be new options available. I would hope that someone would do a cost benefit analysis as the first order of business of a new Gov and from there do something in time with the times. I would also hope that a new Gov would remove all political mates from its structure.
The indictment of the NBN is in its design. It is not flexible enough to cater for future changes in technology. It will go down in history as yet another white elephant and many of us will simply continue to use wireless or Testra copperwire.
Alan, what if the Coalition just sacks NBN co, winds up the Telstra deal but redesigns the NBN rollout (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20)? The problem with the Government's "NBN" is *not* the technology, but the way they are going about the delivery. What if coalition policy was to open up competition in fibre to the home delivery and encourage direct business investment to roll it out to areas that are likely to take it up first?
The fundamental problem with the current rollout is it is government controlled (therefore "political" and expensive), slow, behind schedule and not going to high take up areas first (the city and inner metropolitan areas). I mean where was the market research done by NBN Co telling them which were the likely high take up areas? Has anybody actually seen an NBN truck pulling out cable? In fact I don't think I will ever be getting Labor's NBN it in a practical time frame, yet I want it badly.
What if the coalition encouraged through say tax or investment incentives to rollout fibre to areas where there are people and businesses who actually want the NBN and will pay for it's internet delivery? Get it out to those who want it, not those who never will!!
Alan, what if the Coalition just sacks NBN co, winds up the Telstra deal but redesigns the NBN rollout (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20)? The problem with the Government's "NBN" is *not* the technology, but the way they are going about the delivery. What if coalition policy was to open up competition in fibre to the home delivery and encourage direct business investment to roll it out to areas that are likely to take it up first?
The fundamental problem with the current rollout is it is government controlled (therefore "political" and expensive), slow, behind schedule and not going to high take up areas first (the city and inner metropolitan areas). I mean where was the market research done by NBN Co telling them which were the likely high take up areas? Has anybody actually seen an NBN truck pulling out cable? In fact I don't think I will ever be getting Labor's NBN it in a practical time frame, yet I want it badly.
What if the coalition encouraged through say tax or investment incentives to rollout fibre to areas where there are people and businesses who actually want the NBN and will pay for it's internet delivery? Get it out to those who want it, not those who never will!!
@Tom Knox.
The on premises equipment comes with an (optional?) battery backup unitm (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20).
However, this shouldn't concern you as all of the wireless network fans here can use their mobiles in an extended blackout until the battery runs out on your tablet/iphone :)
Turnbull forgot he went to school (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). If he'd remembered he'd also remember that electricity travels just as fast in copper wires as in optic fibre. The NBN is a colossal farce. We had copper; then along came coax cable; then satellite, then fibre-optic, and none was any faster at conducting electricity than any other. Politicians are all about ripping everything down so it has to be rebuilt. Why not invent the future by building on what we already have.
One very important point where the Coalition has got it horribly wrong (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). Data usage is doubling every couple of years so Turnball's 'cheap' satellite option is simply doomed as there is only so much bandwidth you can get with a satellite. Fibre optic appears the only way to go.
Chris (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20)
One size fits all ?
You mean like we are forced to use 240Volt 50Hz electricity or have Flouridated water.
It is about ubiquitous, standardised, business capable, readily upgradeable, low maintenance.
It is not being built for Now or our current needs and the domestic consumer. But as a platform for our future and the major benefit will be for business of all sizes and productivity. And it won't cost the taxpayer. Especially once the 1Gb is switched on in 2014 ( that is all will take )- greatest value once FTTH NBN completed and the Business sector gets on board with serious business grade services to almost anywhere in Australia . Big dollars high Volumes, that is what will be lifting ARPU and average customer spend. In the process reducing wholesale prices and retail prices
Compare the attitude with that of China, they plan 50+ years ahead. Since the 80's they have been educating African students in their universities for FREE. Guess who has an advantage in Africa, with mining, vertically integrated codevelopments etc. We were smarter we just educated those that pay us big dollars, wonder what benefit in comparison?
Thanks for you great article Alan (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20). The NBN is precisely the type of innovative and nation building infrastructure I want our government to be championing. Hopefully the ignorance of the "white elephant" brigade will be incrementally exposed as the NBN continues its rollout.
"about a million – will be connected to a FTTP" by the next election (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 20).
Conroy would be over the moon if he gets half that!
You are absolutely right Alan (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 21)! there is a very enlightening speech on the subject on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a2ne1WKxek
Before hearing this talk, I had thought FTTN was a reasonable idea, but I was wrong. not only have we negotiated beyond going back to that, but the 'waldrobe sized boxes on people's verges' required are not only ugly, they require power and UPS back up because they have to be active as opposed to the passive FTTP system. See the talk.
"Wireless is a shared medium – learn and understand what this means in today’s bandwidth hungry world or keep out of the argument." (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madnessm, August 21.)
A bit pushy for someone that doesn't understand the basics of networking.
1. GPON OFT is shared media. Get more people on a segment, the bandwidth is distributed.
2. ALl portions of the EMS propogate at the speed of light. There is no such thing as "the speed of radio".
"4G, the current tech that is being rolled out and will continue to be for the next 4 to 5 years is simply an evolution of 3G. It has higher speeds and slightly higher spectrum efficiency and therefore capacity." (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 21.)
Completely wrong. The 3G networks are still designed around circuit-switching technology. 4G is a packet switch network.
"But it still fundamentally suffers from the same issue as 3G – contention. It is a 'shared' medium. That is, if more than one person uses it, the speed drops to compensate on an individual basis."
And how do you think GPON OFT works? By magic? It is SHARED media.
I'm scared by the lack of vision (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 21). At last check, I pay taxes for the Government to provide infrastructure & services. A truly fast network will support my business going into the future, and bring more customers to my business. I can offer more fully featured services to my customers, and extend my customer base by eliminating some of the tyranny of distance. I'm ok if pop doesn't see the use for the NBN; but those of us who have realised the commercial benefits are loathe to see the Liberal half ass another broadband scheme like OPAL.
In spite of the merits of Malcolm's policies in a technical and busines sense (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 21), I would recommend that the coalition harps on a complete review of the modus of operation rather than the need for the NBN since NBN is not labour's brainchild. NBN is a generic industry need acknowledged globally. That way the coalition will make sure that the votes are harnessed.
I agree with Alan in the context of winning votes at the next election (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 21). The only way might be to say that the NBN which is an industry need will go on, but with stringent checks and balances to minimise the inefficiencies and make drastic improvements in the way the whole project is implemented. In the process certain changes to the technology mix can be incorporated. This will ensure the coalition's victory.
Australia, needs to understand, that science, is the new paradigm (The Coalition’s NBN policy is madness, August 22).
Fibre has the potential to take us to a new level, copper just rusts.
Quantum mechanics, is the name of the game.

25 MBps is insufficient for Smart Grids and other data, Power control needs to be priority 1 over video streaming 2 and so on for Grid Security.
http://www.dnvkema.com/Images/Integrated%20Network%20Strategy.pdf
http://www.energy.siemens.com/fi/pool/hq/energy-topics/power%20engineeri...
The requirements are for 100 MBs.
Mark Gregory RMIT in an interview pointed out on ABC that Google is putting fibre to homes because they cannot get bandwidth needed.
Malcolm Turnbull seems to be myopically fixated on the Howard policy that resulted in the privatisation of Telstra when the NBN was first proposed by Telstra. We all know how much that debacle cost the taxpayer, what short memories we have. So we will all have to pay yet again instead of getting what reason suggests is required.