Australia’s bizarre fibre diet

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Hang on, so installing an unsightly antenna every 40 metres would be better and cheaper than running the fibre an extra 10-20 metres underground via existing channels to a home?
In the words of Grumpy Cat: "NO". (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 26.)
I have four year old copper wiring from a Telstra RIM box 100 metres away in Townsville (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). So slow I simply block any video. Direct copper connections from a block away to the Kirwan Exchange (4.6 km) are four times as quick (still ADSL1). There is absolutely no incentive for Telstra to upgrade the exchange to ADSL2+ or the RIM to a TopHat. No-one else will put equipment in regional areas. If there were, I could have a much faster connection in a few years. No NBN available probably until the end of the decade.
Like my neighbours in this estate, I also have four year old fibre optic connections. No backhaul. The only thing that ever ran on it was TV signals from reception, 700 metres away. That broke last year. The fibre is now useless, and no longer used.
Don't tell me copper is always bad, and fibre is always good. It depends upon the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the fastest connection I can get is Telstra 3G mobile wireless, which typically benchmarks up to 10 times my ADSL speed (although latency is not as good). The 3G also survived Cyclone Yasi, unlike the landline.
Well we have had Optus fibre running down our street and to the house,for over 10 years. It is hardwired to the router and then hardwired to this PC at somewhere above 50mbps. So, how is any of this better than what's already here, and why should I have to pay more for it? (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27.)
When Telstra wanted to take over they offered only wireless from the connection box with an ugly mount 2.1metres from the ground at the most prominent part of the house.
So my question is how any of this going to be better value than what I currently have?
"It’s now perfectly obvious that whoever wins the 2013 election, there will be a proper study into whether developments over the past four years have made it possible to do something other than connect every home and business individually to fibre, at great expense." (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27.)
If the ALP wins, there will never be a proper study. Conroy is already omni-intelligent. Didn't you know that?
"..terminating it at a premise which, conveniently, already has power available."
The NBN requires a backup battery at the premise in case the power supply fails. In Australia, the power supply is likely to fail when having a working telephone is most important.
Here we go again, WiFi is cheap and has through same abilities of fibre to run voice, TV, Internet etc across the same air space atomic banana tom foolery. Bah humbug (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27).
Alan - if wireless was so simple and effective why is every country that went fttn send using wireless going ftth ? Cause it has major limitations such as:
1. susceptible to em interference from no WiFi devices - neighbourhoods and industrial estates especially cbd's are full of said devices.
2. Susceptible to cross talk and collisions with other WiFi points - limits speed and the ability to handle timing critical services like voice/video.
3. Require its own power source to drive the access point - this would be ridiculous as you have wire/fibre up each access point with 2 cables instead of one under ftth.
4. Is very limited in terms of usable bandwidth compared to fibre. Wireless uses well air to transmit and has to share is bandwidth with radio/tv/mobile phones/digital tv etc - it will hit a rate limit quickly. Fibre is what WiFi consolidates on anyway cause it can take a higher data rate and is simple to upgrade - just replace the transmitter at either end as it can use the full spectrum of frequencies without having to share it.
The debate has already occurred and thus why ftth was chosen. It's faster, future proof and proven. WiFi is good for adhoc connections where cabling is an issue but is limited and just as expensive as fibre when you add in power needs. Please NBN get the fibre in the ground asap before the political zealots wreck it.
I think it is amazing we are still having this debate at all. I think it is a serious case of navel gazing. Anywhere else in the world the NBN is viewed as an outstanding piece of infrastructure that is visionary and Nation Building (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). It ranks alongside Norway's Future fund as visionary and outstanding. In Australia it depends on which side of politics you are on whether it has any merits or not. There is an alarming number of people who are seriously frightened that it may actually work and are furiously trying to find ways to dumb it down or say it doesn't work so they can say I told you so. Going back to copper - seriously? That's Democracy I guess.
At great risk of sounding like a 'madman' from a science fiction lunatic's asylum, one has to put forward the thought that any pennypinching regarding the NBN as it is now envisaged, is a backwards disconnect from obviously coming future technology progress (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). Such progress will undoubtedly happen and FIBRE is the only medium that ticks all of the boxes to accomodate this technology, some of which is still 50 years to infinity away from YET BEING INVENTED.
This is of course unless our knowledge of quantum physics and the 'string theory' is absolutely and completely wrong.(I for one don't think so)
Don't forget the 'money for me because I am the ruling class' candle peddlers of the 19th century were all for stopping the electricity grid - were thy not?
If it's going to cost me $2,000 to $3,000 to connect to fast broadband under Malcolm Turnbull's plan, that's a good reason for me to vote ABL (anything but Liberal). (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27.)
I only wish that all you WiFi zealots would actually stop and learn something about the biological hazard of microwave transmissions (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). Microwave 'is' the big OH&S sleeper of the 21st century without a doubt. We are now forcibly and without any choice in the matter being bathed in microwave transmissions (frequencies above 1 GHz). The potential to cause DNA mutation and with it a range of exotic cancers will be seen in the next 20 to 30 years if we go down the WiFi path. If you think that the danger from DDT, PCB's and asbestos was a worry then start panicking now before the proverbial hits the fan and the health system is inundated to the point of collapse. This is only the point of view of a research scientist of 20 years standing in the field.
There is no doubt the NBN FTTH is a prime solution. But many who support it will not have to pay the real cost for it, or intuitively believe it will cost them far less than the benefit they receive. Economists call these people freeloaders (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27).
Arguments from these people should be quickly discounted.
When cost is factored in the outlook changs quickly, as we are beginning to see.
Delays are becoming obscene, definitions bizzarre (what exactly is a "home commenced!")
and reality of the 90% goal (8m homes in 8 years from now - really??) further and further unreacheable.
No wonder M Quigley wants a discussion. So do I.
Stage ONE, built FTTN, then those that must have fast internet can connect at their own expense. Then stage two connect to the home at community expense and we all pay it off over time. Those who won't pay the $3000 on principle to connect obviously don't realise that they will pay directly or indirectly no matter when the work is done. The whole crux of all this is that there was NEVER a real plan in the first place, it was just an edict from a government without a plan. The absolute waffle of some responses is just incredable. It will be faster to build to the node so more people have it earlier and then for those who realy need the speed they too will also get it quicker. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
I spent two intensive weeks in Vietnam had no problem accessing fast and free wireless Internet everywhere we went (Australia's bizarre fibre diet, February 27).. Viewed television programs including my favorite Sunday ABC business ones. Vietnam air domestic service is excellent, cheap and puts ours in the shade, so are hotels, meals and beer. Back home we seem to be busy figuring out the best way to waste the rest of the $50 billion.
Good common sense article: so it boils down to ideology not technology. You either believe the mantra the state knows best, or you know otherwise from experience (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). Surely there are plenty of innovative ways we can get government’s heavy hand out of all of this before we throw the baby out with the bath water that is, and find a way to sensibly and cheaply fund the bits the private sector won’t find economical to do of its own accord. I would dearly like to see a Business Commentator write a piece on that topic.
I really don't want yet another source of radiation and potential interference near my home, and I don't want my connectivity to degrade when the rest of the street is all online watching YouTube or when one of my neighbours is using cheap Chinese-made cordless phone or microwave. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
We can bear the cost of FTTN at this point in our economic development, let's get it done and the benefits will be there for many generations to come.
Alan, my 2c for what its worth. The best value i can get today seems to be TPG unlimited for $60per month all up (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). I can put up with its bad customer service and take the chance my line doesnt have faults etc...
If I want to make phone calls, add extra $10-$20 - which i wont as my mobile cap covers that.
I want to know can they do it for $30per month? unlimited data + adsl2+ speeds. :)
From latest Huawei newsletter. Huawei has released the industry's first fibre to the door (FTTD) solution. This solution provides ultra-broadband as fast as 100Mbit/s to 1000Mbit/s by reusing existing copper or coaxial cables in combination with a range of new technologies such as VDSL2, Vectoring, and Giga DSL (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). FTTD uses innovations like plug-and-play configuration and reverse power supply, allowing for significant cost savings and reduced delivery timeframes compared to traditional fibre to the home networks
Note reuse of copper and coax
A strangely limited and confused article Alan (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). As others have pointed out, the limitations of wireless networks are clear to anyone faintly interested in reading about the subject. The further limitations of applying the technology to a country the size of Australia, with its many remote regions,in any fair or equitable manner should also have been discussed. Then of course there is the issue of capacity to meet ongoing demand, as as data usage continues to grow exponentially beyond the expectations of most forecasts - only fibre offers the ability to readily increase capacity to meet new demands within the existing network. Clearly the Turnbull approach will leave many Australians unable to play on a level playing field for reasons of either cost or geography; but maybe that isn't an important consideration for its supporters?
When the Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Commission had what was largely a monopoly, to introduce something like the New Broadband Network would largely a technical issue. Competition has made it very much more difficult to achieve what in itself is a straightforward and reasonably sensible aim. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
As Kenneth Davidson wrote recently, "... If Telstra's fixed network monopoly had been maintained so that its economic rents had been retained instead of distributed to its competitors via arbitrage, the introduction of fibre to the node would probably now have been connected to up to 80% of network customers."
Today's Noalition "NBN" is inferior and will need to be ripped up within at most a decade to provide appropriate faster and equal upload and download speeds to each dwelling.
Integration is essential in a complex economy.
Note how the costs and cost overruns of the NBN are the subject of much debate. Yet the real benefits can only be derived from major internal restructuring and substantial investments by the enterprises in the sectors to exploit the NBN.
‘Careful reading of the detailed business case for the NBN reveals that the government will in time own a nation-spanning asset of huge worth to the broader economy in terms of productivity growth.’
In other words, Labor has spent all this money to buy back something that Howard should never have flogged-off.
A good many of the commenters have the right of it - FTTH is the only way to go for the NBN (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). Wi-Fi is totally unsuitable with about 100Mbps shared between houses within its range (which is only 50m) and speed falling away with distance. Not to mention the spectrum crowding - there are only 2 bands for Wi-Fi and they are unlicensed, so anyone can and does use them.
But I take exception to this being the country's largest infrastructure project. Electricity transmitters are spending around $46B upgrading poles and wires in the NEM to cater for peak demand (about 8 hours a year) from increasing number of split system air conditioners. The minister, Martin Ferguson estimates that, for every $1,500 a/c installed we're spending $7,500 upgrading poles and wires.
But no one is subjecting this expenditure to the same level of scrutiny as the NBN.
Mike Quigley's abrogation of responsibility regarding the technology to be used in the NBN is cowardly. The FTTH technology chosen is right and he needs to hold his resolve and continue to make the case for it.
".... apparently all sorts of new wireless dooverlackies ...."
That says it all. NFI.
The solutions he canvasses would lead to massive wireless congestion and we would be no better off than we are now.
Kohler should leave commentary on the NBN to Technology Spectator who at least have a clue. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
Sorry but there is no "debate" it is just a matter of physics. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
We would all love wireless to be as fast as fibre but the fact is that fibre optic is hugely faster than wireless.
As it currently stands, fibreoptics can achieve speeds that are 250,000 times faster than wireless. In experimental systems, fibre can carry 69,000 times more data than the entire bandwidth delivered by a wireless tower.
The installed fibre NBN system will be expandable as bandwidth demand increases by passing addition signal phases and colours through the cable.
Firstly, have you seen the number of mobile phone towers in a metro area? Look at
These would be vastly increased if you include micro-cells etc as you are proposing. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
You haven't accounted for the cost of RUNNING an air-con'd base-station (regardless of size) on every corner. Ever wondered what's in the sheds below each tower? Yep - a small rack of IT equipment, running under climate controlled conditions 24/7!
Do you know anything about wi-fi security? Specifically, people on a shared network being able to spy on and access other devices on the same network (beware using hotel and coffee shop wi-fi!).
Why is the tech industry, who DO know what they're talking about, lauding the vision of FTTP rather than the short-sightedness (and longer-term higher expense when you include running costs and not just capital expenditure!) of FTTN.
Remember - the government didn't choose FTTP on their own. There was an independent panel, who assessed the options, and FTTP was only slightly more expensive (overall!) than FTTN, especially when you allow for the fact that the (in many places) dying and unreliable copper network would need to be maintained. Have you factored in that cost as well, over the 50+ year life of fibre?
I hope you're not simply comparing capital expenditure!
A new car is more expensive to buy than getting new tyres on a 40 year old Torana. But when you include the running costs (fuel efficiency, maintenance, reliability) a new car is much more cost effective.
Also remember that NBN plans start at just $35 per month, 50Gb downloads, NO LINE RENTAL. But this is not just about download speeds, it is about ubiquitious connection - just like when everyone could connect to a phone in the 20th century (and moiles 2 decades ago). Only when EVERYONE can connect at reasonable speeds, both up and down, will we be able to move forward with additional services (health, education, telecommuting, competing with Indian call centres etc).
@Greg Pennefather (February 27, 5:33), the big difference between 'upgrading poles and wires' dubbed gold plating, and the NBN is that the NBN is a colossal $50 billion dubious off Federal budget project, dubbed out of sight out of mind. (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27)
As I understand it, the NBN was cooked up by Rudd and Conroy to cover up Conroy's stuff up on a broadband tender (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 27). It was introduced with a dubious lack of business planning, uses risk-free sovereign debt rates for retrospective business case financial modelling and has Quigly,one of Swan's mates at the helm. This outstanding executive was so functionally incompetent that he didn't realise (so he says) that his Alcatel subordinate were bribing South American politicians, and didn't bother to tell his interview panel of his incapacity at interview.
Emerging technology is putting more and more speed through copper wire, and much of the existing copper infrastructure could be reused with new technology without having to rip it out of the ground. High bandwidth users are already being been serviced by fibre-optic cables already installed, and the NBN is providing massive subsidies (funded by Metropolitan consumers) in a time honoured political process of rural socialism and porkbarrelling. If existing infrastructure providers were able to continue to use their existing infrastructure, there would be a strong business case for extending existing technology to poorly served areas where this is economically feasible. Forr those who choose to live a distance away from existing infrastructure, they should be required to pay the cost, on the same basis that remote consumers pay higher cost of fuel food and transport.
picocells are specifically for use within houses to take the traffic off the Telco broadcast towers and move it onto the fixed-line network.
Exactl the opposite of what you suggest (Australia’s bizarre fibre diet, February 28).
Municipal Networks based on WiFi were highly touted, but failed in the market, even when provided 'free'.
WiMax has been coming and coming: 4G is now cheaper, better, faster.
Wireless is perfect for broadcasting non-interactive traffic (to fixed or mobile), or narrowcasting low-bandwidth bi-directional to mobile users.
For fixed sites, wireless has all the problems of xDSL/FTTN but with interference, interception and congestion.
It's the Law of Physics, Jim