Telstra trials NBN-beating system

Telstra Corp Ltd has reportedly begun trials of new mobile technology that is being billed as capable of providing download speeds as much as nine times faster than the coalition's national broadband network (NBN) plan would deliver, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Labor's NBN plan offered customers up to 100 megabits per second, while the coalition is pushing a plan that would guarantee speeds of 50 mbps by 2019.

Telstra plans involve using a technology called “carrier aggregation” aimed at delivering peak mobile download speeds of up to 450 mbps, according to a Telstra strategy briefing cited by the AFR.

Telstra's current 4G wireless network delivers download speeds of up to 40 mbps.

During the federal election campaign, the coalition argued that the prospect of super-fast mobile technology did not threaten to undermine the NBN, but rather bolstered their plan for a cheaper network because the rise of mobile technology reduced the need for a large-scale network.  

More from Business Spectator


Please login or register to post comments

Comments Policy »
Not that I think I'm obtuse, but I am not aware that we are capable of just yet at travelling faster than the speed of light, I grant that in recent months a particle that does travel faster than the speed of light and has been named the ***Higgs bosun***, but as yet I'm not aware any new inventions are on the market using this new particle. So are we talking interfacing downloads speeds into current devises which can be done faster with this new mobile facility and which so far the fibre inventions are lagging cos I fail to see how radio waves are faster than light speed....Some one pls do tell.
Tony, the speed of light isn't the issue. All electromagnetic signals (includes light) propagate at the same speed (plus or minus a minor influence from the medium in which they travel). The issue is the rate at which one signal (or impulse) can follow the previous - that's what is meant by the data speeds we talk about. That is a more complex function of the system as a whole. On this measure, optical fibre can generally do better than copper wires, though more and more sophisticated systems have been improving the capability of copper wire systems. Similarly with radio systems. Radio has even more complications, due to the fact that the medium is shared. And by the way, the Higgs Boson does not have zero mass, so it too is bound by the speed of light.
All data transmission technologies propagate at close to light speed. However, bandwidth - total data throughput per second - is the sum of multiple signals, each of which carries some of the data. Wireless runs out of carrying capacity quickly when there are many concurrent users, which is why punitive data charges are used to ration demand. ADSL uses many frequencies, each carrying 256 Kbps of data, but the high frequencies fade quickly after short distances on copper, leaving only a few 256 Kbps signals after only a couple of km. This is why FTTN will require very closely spaced electrical cabinets in every street, to shorten the copper distance. Optical fibre is superior because the laser signal can travel tens to hundreds of km with negligible signal loss, and more colours are available, all of them at high frequencies with large data carrying capacity. The limiting factor is the switches, which are the cheapest part of a universal rollout to premises, and will cheaply be upsized as future demand rises. The record for a single standard fibre, 240km long with full error correction was set in Japan in May 2010, and is 69.1 Terabit per second, or 69,100 concurrent gigabit services, over a single optical fibre strand. If we lay fibre to premises now, and put Wi-Fi routers at the premises, we overcome all the petty bandwidth arguments once and for all. Actually, the choice of fibre is chiefly about reliability and longevity, but fibre also offers limitless bandwidth to local fixed and wireless devices.
The idea that signals move from a to b on the NBN at light speed is laughable. There are many routers etc and it is designed as a broadcast system by the CTO who just overlaid a DSL system over the fibre to set the architecture. The LTEa system that Telstra has planned to roll out from the node will always beat the NBN.for speed on a point to point basis for typical user traffic. Fibre comes into its own for large volume traffic. Node to node. Large business to large business. The current LTEa is even slower than 802.11ac which can make use of multi-element aerials. No doubt we will see bundled aerials for LTEa and 802.11ac. When the aerial density increases its even possible to do away with the node connections. For those who bark about contention I refer you to the existing Chinese market that has several locations with more active wireless connections than the population of Australia. The NBN architecture is out of date. The proponents have wasted billions and should at best be shown the door. At worst a cell.
Thx Geoff....your input is much appreciated.
yeah true...lots of fibre "hype" ...ppl are claiming it can do anything...but its not true. The PON system that NBN has chosen has issues in that it uses WDM, wavelength multiplexing, that means we need little boxes everywhere in the street, also it means that the number of houses each box can serve falls the further way from the exchange we go due to transmission loss of the laser which is different for each wavelength. so the system for australian standards would need to be overbuild, vs say in countries where desnity is very high. anyway for what its worth it may be very expensive to offer 100Mb services in terms of providing all the equipment in the network to support the speeds, and given that if it costs too much to the consumer, then few people wouldnt purchase these plans. If too many users land on the 24Mb plans, that makes FTTP / NBN totally unnecessary, and hence having fibre to every home redundant, and $40Bn or so wasted. So there must be sufficient usage on the network, and services that actually require fibre, that is to do what FTTN copper cannot do, to make the nbn viable. Otherwise, it would just need to charge higher prices.
Thx Rau......Thats amazing, I thought the HB started at the speed of light and went faster...or what the HB collects can go faster than the speed of light and the HB slows them down. And Im glad you are with us in the group. Your input is much valued.
Can anyone say why ARI and AGO shares are being traded in such large volumes? Takeovers in the air?
I wouldn't get too carried away with the trial results of the Telstra new mobile internet technology just yet. It may well be extremely fast when few people are using it but if the masses use it, it is likely to slow right down so that the NBN would be much superior. By the way, Tony was greatly mistaken about the Higgs Boson travelling faster that the speed of light. It was neutrinos that the scientists had thought they found to be travelling slightly faster than light speed. In the end they found they had a fault in one of their equipment that registered the arrival of a known burst of neutrinos someone earlier than they should have been. Correcting for the error, or a repeat of the tests, found that the neutrinos failed to bother Einstein's remains. The Higgs Boson was big news because its existence supports the theory of why other particles have mass and consequently cannot travel at light speed.
While I think it's likely that you will have to share that theoretical speed with others on the cell... If only we had had the forethought to wire up all of Australia with fiber so that backhaul could be easily and CHEAPLY provided to all mobile carriers, not just Telstra.
I just thought that I would trow something interesting into the mix here. I have always thought that radio or should I say cable-less, land based technology would always within a short period of time render the NBN as mostly already out of date and Geoff Croker's comment about showing people the door or even a cell door are not at all inappropriate. Right now I have made a long term commitment to future use of High speed wireless use combined with my recently acquired Telstra "COPPER CABLE" broadband, (The same cables that have been in the ground for well over 30 years), which already gives me reliable download speeds of close to 100Mbps and never less than 86Mbps. Anyone who can access Foxtel can avail themselves of this technology today. So what I am saying is that there is no real reason to use fibre to the premises and indeed fibre to the node even is to my mind an extravagance, especially when the recent and in the immediate pipeline radio systems will at least match cable type systems and most likely overtake fixed systems which will in their current ADSL 2+ and even faster cable type systems provide for cheap and reliable base load systems that will be soon much faster than present technology employed in Australia now provides with the addition of radio based technology at much lower process than NBN can ever be for speed freaks.
Roger, yes, you get 100 Mbps downstream off the 30-year-old coax, but what's your upload speed? Less than 2 Mbps. Cable is fine for television signals, but will not meet basic outgoing bandwidth needs for households will multiple devices for very long, nor for business backup, cloud work and conferencing. Optus and Telstra got a commercially valuable deal from NBNCo to migrate broadband users off HFC, because they will need to replace a lot of field equipment and coax within the next few years if it needs to battle on. This is why 99.25% of Telstra shareholders approved HFC decommissioning.
Actually, I get around 2.4 to 2.5 Mbps upstream. My son is getting 113Mbps downloads and 2.5Mbps which is superb for his gaming insatiability requirements. I'm glad he owns his own house and pays for the large download costs himself these days. Interestingly, the reality is that the normal process of surfing the web does not appear to be any faster because most of the major web servers in the World are actually quite slow, even in the countries that have fibre optic internet infrastructure.
If it all goes wireless, and so much data, and the associated electromagnetic radiation being present all around us, what will be the effect on our health? I can't help think, there is going to be some sort of long term effect, a bit like smoking.
Wireless technology will be great, until the authorities can no longer hide the fact that electromagnetic pollution has a disastrous effect on almost every living creature and ecosystem, on the planet.
EM pollution. Light from the Sun is now pollution? Lets tax it.
Very funny. If you stay in the sun long enough you will get cancer. Not suggesting a tax, just might be a wise idea to take various measure to protect yourself, ie like turn off your home wireless router while sleeping, ask your neighbor do the same if possible, use RF3 Live Stereo Ear Buds when talking on your mobile, and others. The effects are real, the various companies that profit, know it, and some brain surgeons know it.
A 22-year old university business student (and Liberal voter) has launched a petition to the Liberal Party to 'Reconsider your plan for a 'FTTN' NBN in favour of a superior 'FTTH' NBN' It now has more than 125,000 signatures:
why don't they just roll out the mobile technology then?
LTEa (4G) is not yet available in commercial quantities in devices. Its going to take two more years. 802.11ac hits the street in quantity this christmas. Telstra is just finishing the 3.5G system upgrade in CBDs. (they call it 4G)
Lots of things for Telstra to do. Nobble NBN. Yes. Get their man in charge of NBN. Almost. Convince Malcolm Turnbull to pay them $11B for gutters that are mostly no good. Hope that the NBN work already done 30% is bad. Install LTEa aerials on power poles and FTTN connection. Its all going to take them at least 4 years. They cannot start the work for 18 months.
Sorry Geoff, excuse my ignorance. What is your proposed NBN solution. I assume you are not supportive of the FTTP ? I sense that you are stating the rapid developments in 4G or LTEa to replace the transmission from the node to the premises, is the way ??
No, That is Telstra's plan. FTTP is a very dumb idea. FTTC is better. Avoids the major cost of the last 10-20m.
No. The current Node generally services several streets. The Curb is at the footpath.
Fibre-to-the-Curb??? It seems we're getting closer and closer to the 'Premise'. The assessment of FTTP as a 'very dumb idea' or 'vital infrastructure for the 21st century' requires consideration of future APPLICATIONS of the technology. Here's an excerpt from Nick Paine's petition: 'Superfast broadband is about more than connecting several family PCs, laptops, iPads, phones and other devices to the internet. It is about more than downloading ones favourite music, TV shows, movies or watching YouTube sensations. And yes, it is about more than being able to connect health and educational services, businesses and corporations. Having a well thought out, well implemented, and well maintained National Broadband Network is about ensuring the prosperity of Australians for generations to come. It is a vision shared by the Australian spirit and achievable through FTTH technology.' Now with over 140,000 supporters:
The major problem you have (with FTTP) is : 1. Once the fibre passes your home, the copper is ripped out, so you must connect via fibre whether you use it or not. 2. Infrastructure like this, is never permanent and needs upgrading / updating etc. 3. If you can predict the applications of the future (how far in the future needs to be defined) then you should be PM. 4. Did not the LNP & Labor use the NBN policy model as a major election item ? Sure there maybe 140k signatures (maybe more) but the people have voted. 5. Show me how the NBN is well thought out - this article disputes its management methods.
> 1. Once the fibre passes your home, the copper is ripped out, so you must connect via fibre whether you use it or not. So the customer gets a much better service (more reliable and faster, with much faster upload speeds), available through their choice of retail provider. > 2. Infrastructure like this, is never permanent and needs upgrading / updating etc. 'Infrastructure like this' is fibre optic cable connected to the premises. Future upgrades are done within the network (virtual). There is nothing more future proof than FTTP. Ask a Telco or current user of FTTP. > 3. If you can predict the applications of the future (how far in the future needs to be defined) then you should be PM. The great advantage of FTTP is that reliable, guaranteed bandwidth can be increased if and when future applications are demanded. Again, the upgrade is done within the network (virtual) because the physical infrastructure is already in place. Those with experience in the IT / eCommerce industry and young, savvy technology users know that industry/societal disruption from technology has only just begun. The question is WHEN we will need the bandwidth, not IF. Those with experience don't want Australia to be left behind in a globalised, internet age. > 4. Did not the LNP & Labor use the NBN policy model as a major election item ? Sure there maybe 140k signatures (maybe more) but the people have voted. Malcolm Turnbull provided the LNP with a 'marketable' NBN to minimise the difference but there were many other issues that contributed to the LNP win. The vast majority of Australians want FTTP NBN. There are now more than 155,000 supporters of Nick Paine's petition. Nick Paine is a Liberal voter. > 5. Show me how the NBN is well thought out - this article disputes its management methods. I'm not disputing that NBN management methods can be improved. Neither is the petition. The majority of Australians want Fibre-to-the-Premises as a long term investment in the INTERNET AGE. (more than 155,000 supporters)
The Liberals are incorrect to assume that an election win equals a single "referendum" on a whole range of issues aired during the election campaign. It is quite likely that people may have voted for Liberals on other issues than what the Liberals are proposing for the NBN. I assume that Nick Paine is one of those as he states that he voted Liberal and yet is fighting to ensure that this major infrastructure project results in a network that will scale much, much better than the FTTN alternative and will be a viable network for much longer than a network that still incorporates copper. I am sure that the 196,000+ signatories on the petition are not all just Labor supporters and it is a perfectly legitimate way to signal to the new Government that they should not just assume that the population of Australia wants their useless FTTN NBN.
Go 802.11ac from the curb. 8 element aerial. One aerial per household.
Not sure how you go from the curb ? Are you saying you have a 802.11ac router every four / five houses ? If so where are these housed - in the ducts ?
Sounds interesting, any chance of elaborating. This is important in many ways. One, is that the technology rapidly changes and the challenge is to implement a solution which is flexible yet has some excess capacity / bandwidth immediately. I must say, I do have a problem of forcing people onto whatever solution but thats not a technical issue.
Yes. Not in existing ducts. Under footpath connected to LV DC power. Comms back to node where its connected to fibre.
433 Mbaud max per household. About 80 Mbaud sustained.
Go to
It seems more effective long term to finish the job by delivering fibre to the premises, once you are 10-20 metres away. FTTC is like putting retreads on an Audi. Do you have a financial interest in this company or technology?
Sure. The issue is at what cost. If you want to pay the extra $70B its going to cost then go for it. FTTP is a silly idea because the existing infrastructure does not support fibre. Its not going to be sustainable using Telstra's gutters. It will cost to much to did trenches everywhere. The operating cost will be very large. Telstra are proposing to go FTTN the wireless via LTEa. The thing is there is already almost 7 Billion wifi devices installed by the end of next year there will be 20Billion wifi devices, the following year 50B.
No matter how fast mobile data speeds are, the bandwidth is shared across all potential users in the same cell. 4G is offering great performance to the few customers who have 4G data access. I remember a similar experience when 3.5G first began. The effective data rates I am getting on 3.5G today, are generally a lot lower than when I first upgraded to a 3.5G (NextG) phone. The same will happen with 4G. At first everyone will say how fantastic it is, but the perceived data rates will fall as more people use it. There are two fundamental limits to data rate. These are the signal/noise ratio and the bandwidth. Noise in the fibre is basically limited by noise at the transmitter and at the receiver. Safety considerations aside, the extreme low loss of a fibre means that the S/N at the receiver is extremely high. As well there are no fundamental limits to bandwidth. The same fibre, that at the moment can easily accommodate 100Mbps, can, without changing the cable, scale up by maybe two orders of magnitude in bandwidth by changing the transceivers at each end. 10G links over fibre are quite common. Radio communication always has a S/N issue, because of the square-law loss in signal strength vs distance. Bandwidth is also an issue too - the radio spectrum is an increasingly rare resource, so carriers have to bid for spectrum, and that "rent" has to be reflected in the cost of the carriage service. To offer, as a standard service, a speed of 25MBps is rather poor. This data rate is on a par with what most people can get today with ADSL2+ If this is what Malcolm Turnbull sets in place, the result will be that most people will not get the choice of fibre. If you live in an area where a large percentage of people elect only the basic service, you will not be able to pay more for fibre, because the new organisation will not be able to justify running fibre for the 10-20% of people who are willing to pay extra for it. I say "new organisation", because I am sure that the first thing the new government will do, is change the name, and all the letterheads. Even if nothing else changes, this will.
Simply if the FTTP proponents want FTTP then pay for it. Don't expect the rest of the population to be lumbered with your need for blinding speed that will never be delivered and remain largely unused. You've had six years to deliver zip. A $130B debt would be the largest corporate disaster in history. Why do we need to be involved with your debt for something we do not need? How many people will remain homeless or on hospital waiting lists because of your selfishness?
Geoff, a FTTP national network is viable only when the industry is restructured so you have a publicly held NBN delivering infrastructure, and a competitive retailer market selling to the end user. This way everyone gets Fibre and better value for money internet service, and we pay for it through usage charges, at better bang for buck. As you know, the value of a network increases as the number of users increases, or the value of the functions performed on the network increases. This is about nation building and cooperation to get a win-win outcome for all Aussies.
No. This is about irresponsible people who must have it all now at the expense of the rest of the population. This project will cost $132B as its currently configured. Internal Telstra estimates are now exceeding $95B and rising. Debt does not build a nation when there is zip ROI.
Ok Geoff. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Costs must be compared to revenue. Debt must be compared to assets. Also I don't know how on earth Telstra estimates of the NBN have anything to do with this discussion. To say that the NBN will have zero ROI in the internet age is ridiculous. Let's wait and see what Turnbull's cost benefit analysis uncovers as political pressure increases on the Libs for FTTP. Nick Paine's petition now has 161,805 supporters. Cheers.
Telstra Estimates. ? No Vested interest?, IMO they have sabotaged the Rollout and the FTTP NBN to the max they can get away with, in partnership with their joint venture media partner ( who looked after the misinformation campaign twisting the voters beliefs) whose long term subsidy of their Propaganda and manipulation network is threatened by the possibility in 5 or more years time by the appearance of Pay TV competitors once the critical mass is reached and the existing content contracts start expiring Project cost at the ridiculously expensive and inefficient Telstra way ( Bris South - Where as the supposed experts they chose FTTP rather than FTTN) Paywalled, but read the comments You brag of your ability to pay for what you want, so pay for an education The NBN is a ONCE ONLY never to be repeated National infrastructure project, what we get will on the whole bes all there will ever be, sure wireless will improve and become increasingly expensive and limited in practical usability, caps keep reducing everywhere in the world Yes I fought for a decent communications infrastructure for Australia for the next 50+ years and have been defeated by those that cannot see beyond the next election, even though like many others who fought for Australia's best long term interest would be happy with a stable reliable rock solid 50/20 for the next few years. I voted Labor the 07/10 for the NBN 13 for democracy as I have watched the principle and reality of Democracy be absolutely and irrecoverably trashed. Prior to that Labor with Whiltlam/Hawke, Independants and Democrats untill Meg Lees broke her promise. I vote on what on due diligence with information from many sources I believe is best long term for my Nation
There is no logical reason why the government should need to invest in the NBN. There are how "good", illogical reasons. This mess has arisen because the Coalition government insisted that Telstra opened the FTTN network that Telstra started to roll out 10+ years ago. Telstra looked at the business case, and saw no business reason to build everyone else's high speed network. The Coalition government wanted Telstra to effectively build the NBN, but make it available to all carriers. An FTTN can easily be upgraded to add some fibre runs, ie to be an FTTN with high(er) speed wire comms (ie higher than ADSL2+) to the home as well as some fibre to the home runs. In other words, without intervention, we could have had the network, promised by the Coaltion, now. It would have been expensive, by world standards, because it would have been delivered by a monopoly provider - but we would have had one. When Telstra refused to do what the government of the day wanted, the government decided to continue the national sport of Telstra bashing. That meant that nothing happened. Pathetic attempts were made with various tender processes to get other companies (Telstra was excluded, initially, from the tender process). These all collapsed because Telstra are the only company in a position to do it. The Opposition, realising that the public actually hate Telstra, was either mute, or joined in this process. In 2007, we have a new government. They could have done the right thing, and said - "well we no longer own Telstra, so why dont we let them behave as though they are a business - at least we might then get some investment in some infrastructure". Eventually we got the idea of Telstra Mark II, where the government buys back some of the infrastructure of Telstra. This was called the NBN. In my opinion the Coalition government should have split Telstra into two, before selling it, and retained the part that owns the pits and wires - but, that is my view. The NBN is nothing more than a reflection of what everyone wants. A government owned monopoly provider, of an expensive network that is close to, what is available to most other first world nations. And, unlike other first world nations, urban dwellers will have subsidised rural users too. Another time-honored tradition in Australia. Most people do not like Telstra, and, apparently more than 50% of people like the idea of the NBN, despite more than this having voted for the Coalition. Remember too that the Coalition have adopted 90% of the NBN - their policy is NBN' And governments attempt to deliver, what the greater public want, despite the opinions of some zealots. It is like blaming governments for litter on the street, rather than blaming the idiots who are too lazy to put their litter in the bin.
wireless can be hacked, has been and will be again, at least to the home , your are secure.
How come we have the internet and broadband. ? Would we have what we have if it was done any other way? Who could have produced a CBA for it that would attract funding.? Would ANY of you have supported a Government building and operating such a thing for FREE to the users.? Grow up and get in the real world