back to article nbn™ needs copper to build FTTN: another 15,000 km of it

Remediating and backfilling copper networks for Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) was always going to need new copper, and now Australians know how much: 15,000 kilometres. The supplier of that copper, Prysmian, will be happy: nbn™, the company building and operating the NBN has written to a senate committee naming …

  1. Tannin

    "nowhere near as silly as the Sydney Morning Herald's outrage about the nbn™ coffee spend (about $500k a year for an organisation with 5,000 staff – about 27 cents per person per day).

    Yeah right. And how much of that coffee ends up with the actual on-ground workers? Rough guess: none. Most of it will be going to the very small number of people warming chairs in offices. So nothing like 27c per day.

    (And if it turns out that the number of chair-warmers (as opposed to workers) isn't small, well that's an even bigger scandal.)

    1. mathew42
      Unhappy

      > (And if it turns out that the number of chair-warmers (as opposed to workers) isn't small, well that's an even bigger scandal.)

      Cue scandal as the workforce is significantly larger than expected. Most of the actual work by NBNCo is contracted out.

      This is exactly what you expect from a governemnt monopoly created by Labor.

      1. TheBBG

        Perhaps created by the ALP but perfected by the coalition. At least the original ALP FTTP had a decent outcome, not an over hyped under performing "product". But what is that small fact to a partisan?

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          "At least the original ALP FTTP had a decent outcome"
          Really? You have experienced the results for yourself have you? You call losing connectivity for days at a time "a decent outcome"? One of Mrs Git's colleagues was one of the earliest adopters and still has ongoing problems. Our FW connection only goes down for 4–6 hours at a time about once a week. At least I get nearly 10 Mb/s these days rather than the 3 Mb/s we had for the first few months. NBN is definitely overhyped and underperforming in my book.

          But then what's real-world experience versus being an ALP partisan?

          1. Tim99 Silver badge

            @Pompous Git

            As outlined in out previous correspondence, our normally works fine. We live in a retirement complex which has just changed wholesalers. The only problem with the previous lot was that they very occasionally did not spend enough on CVC capacity and cut us down to <1Mbps in the last 3 days or so of the month and then would ask for more money, which restored full speed; so it looks like their business model/usage was incorrect. The company was very small and folded when another of the MD's businesses was involved in a reverse take-over.

            The new supplier is better, offering unlimited "unthrottled" data at $33/month - Currently Speedtest is showing 86Mbps down and 38Mbs up, which seems to be their typical performance. I have occasionally seen it as low as 18Mbps down in the evening, but still with 30+Mbps up - Perhaps that implies that performance drops may be caused by lack of capacity (CVC pricing at peak times?)

            1. mathew42
              FAIL

              Are you sure you have an NBN connection? Wholesale cost for 100/40Mbps is $38/month.

              Only 14% (and continuing to fall) of customers are selecting 100Mbps. 85% are on 25Mbps or slower. The reason for that is Labor's decision to build an NBN with speed tiers. I don't consider building a 1Gbps network and then throttling it to 25Mbps for 85% of people to be a successful outcome. In fact it is exactly this outcome that enabled the Coalition to justify FTTN.

              As you shown with speeds dropping to 18Mbps for people who are only at home in the evenings, peak time congestion means buying faster plans delivers little benefit. With the current unlimited data plans that are all the rage, if NBNCo dropped AVC speed tiers it would cause a surge in CVC demand enabling pricing to fall. Win-Win.

              1. Tim99 Silver badge
                FAIL

                @mathew42

                Yes, I am sure. We have fibre to our central comms room (which also houses all of the VIOP traffic) and VDSL2 from the comms room to each of our homes (typically 30-150 meters) so far we have about 140 homes connected. The VOIP with a compulsory monitored personal alarm is another $18.

                I am pretty certain that the drop is not down to just our wholesaler but is probably their supplier iiNet, who seem to have gone downmarket since their takeover by TPG. I am not sure what wholesale arrangements iiNet have, but I remember there were problems with Internode a while back.

                I am fairly confident that the residents of our 140 units are not all streaming HD on Stan/NetFlix to multiple TVs and playing WoW at the same time, so I would imagine that our wholesaler has purchase capacity at normal contention ratios. - At most we are talking about 140 @ 100Mbps x $38 divided by their contention ratio. I have only seen the 18Mbps figure a few times for perhaps half an hour, so that might indicate that they are working on a ratio of (at most) 5:1 which is much better than industry standards.

                I suspect that the Labor plan was not ideal, but the Liberals could not bear the thought of all of that money not going to Malcolm's mates, as well as (perhaps) instructions from Murdoch to delay/reduce the rollout to protect NewsCorp and Foxtel revenues...

                1. mathew42
                  FAIL

                  > Yes, I am sure. We have fibre to our central comms room (which also houses all of the VIOP traffic) and VDSL2 from the comms room to each of our homes (typically 30-150 meters) so far we have about 140 homes connected.

                  Note you have FTTN technology, which Labor explicitly excluded based on an ideological basis. The short distance makes it close to FTTB.

                  In an early thread you mentioned $33/home. This is $5 below NBNCo wholesale pricing for 100Mbps, which suggests that a third party has installed the service.

                  After Telstra thwarted Labor's FTTN plan, the face saving 1Gbps FTTP plan was a great idea. However the implementation was failure. Labor predicted that in 2026 <1% would have 1Gbps. Today we see 85% on 25Mbps or slower as a direct result of Labor choosing to add speed tiers to the NBN.

                  1. Jasonk

                    Yet Mathew your fan boy support of fttn has 1% on 1Gbps by 2020 when most of the nexteork is only design for 25Mbps

                    1. mathew42
                      FAIL

                      > Yet Mathew your fan boy support of fttn has 1% on 1Gbps by 2020 when most of the nexteork is only design for 25Mbps

                      Please provide evidence that I support FTTN. What I have done is pointed out that for 85% of Australians on 25Mbps or slower the technology has zero impact. I actively argued against FTTN when Labor promoted it as their plan in 2007 election campaign.

                      For the top 1%, ~$10,000 tax deductible cost of FoD is not a significant cost. It is significantly less than stamp duty costs for moving or a kitchen renovation.

                      1. Jasonk

                        lol Mathew the evidence is that of the 1 and a half years of labor rollout vs the 4 years of the coalition rollout your constantly bitch and moan about labor 1% Gbps target by 2026 but then ignore from those same figures of 50% on 12Mbps. How many on 12Mbps btw.

                        Your fanboy support of the MTM which has a target of 1% on 1Gbps by 2020 but most of the network is o lay design for 25Mbps. Oh no 85% on 25Mbps and 12Mbps. What about NZ have 85% on 100Mbps lol. Or how about 65% on 25Mbps or above lol.

                        Ahh so you expect the taxpayer to now pay for your FOD but not fttp lol. Since FOD is so costly compared to the promise it would be under $5k. How is MTM upgrade going to be paid for less than the cost of doing it right the first time.

                        1. mathew42
                          FAIL

                          > about labor 1% Gbps target by 2026 but then ignore from those same figures of 50% on 12Mbps. How many on 12Mbps btw.

                          So you think the outcome of Labor's plan being 85% on 25Mbps or slower on a 1Gbps capable network is a great achievement?

                          Labor's plan was for 10% to be on 250Mbps by now, yet you cannot buy that plan retail.

                          Labor's plan was for 40% to be on 100Mbps or faster by now.

                          The reason that only 33% are 12Mbps is because Telstra don't offer 12Mbps. I suggest that if Telstra offered 12Mbps that a significant percentage of their customers would switch from 25Mbps to 12Mbps.

                          > How is MTM upgrade going to be paid for less than the cost of doing it right the first time.

                          The point I continue to make is that a network being built by the government should benefit a small number of Australians. Based on Labor's plan there is no evidence that the overwhelming majority will pay for the 100Mbps speeds required to deliver the benefits promised by Labor. Therefore it is reasonable to argue that hose who desire faster speeds but do not care about their neighbour's speeds should expect to pay. The ironic part of this is it is the fibre fanbois who appear not to have the means to pay and will therefore suffer the consequences of their selfishness.

                          1. Jasonk

                            Lol Mathew there is you fanboy status again.

                            "So you think the outcome of Labor's plan being 85% on 25Mbps or slower on a 1Gbps capable network is a great achievement?"

                            Considering that labor was looking at 50% on 12Mbps. I would say yes labor 65% on 25Mbps or higher is a great achievement,

                            "Labor's plan was for 10% to be on 250Mbps by now, yet you cannot buy that plan retail."

                            I will come back to this one to show you answered a why your lol.

                            "Labor's plan was for 40% to be on 100Mbps or faster by now."

                            Wrong there where expecting 25% to be on 100Mbpsby now. But your fanboy support MTM expects 30% on 100Mbps by 2020. Which half the network will have trouble achieving.

                            "The reason that only 33% are 12Mbps is because Telstra don't offer 12Mbps. I suggest that if Telstra offered 12Mbps that a significant percentage of their customers would switch from 25Mbps to 12Mbps."

                            Lol your excuse is that Telstra doesn't offer it lol. Can I use that excuse for the no one on 250Mbps to.

                            But then your trying to compare a rollout that got stopped in 2013 it's now 2017 and MTM has been rolling out 3 times longer than labor plan with very little to show for it. But then you would have fallen for the $29B everyone to get 25Mbps last year too lol.

                            "Therefore it is reasonable to argue that hose who desire faster speeds but do not care about their neighbour's speeds should expect to pay. The ironic part of this is it is the fibre fanbois who appear not to have the means to pay and will therefore suffer the consequences of their selfishness."

                            This was a great laugh. Btw the nbn was originally plan to make a return. Having people in the higher speeds paying for the neighbors slower speeds. But you have failed in you method. But then you expect your neighbor to pay for you FOD as a tax return. So please try again with you own selfishness.

                        2. mathew42
                          FAIL

                          > Can I use that excuse for the no one on 250Mbps to.

                          I'd be more interseted in knowing why you think RSPs are not offering plans faster than 100Mbps. Hint: Labor's financial model makes it too expensive. The Coalition has depressed the demand for faster speeds by lowering CVC pricing faster than Labor planned but not reducing AVC.

                          > Btw the nbn was originally plan to make a return.

                          Which was unlikely to occur.

                          > Having people in the higher speeds paying for the neighbors slower speeds. But you have failed in you method.

                          The growth as stated by Labor in the NBNCo Corporate Plan was in CVC revenue. Removing speed tiers would have seen CVC revenue grow more quickly as people stream movies in HD & QHD. The difference between speed and data is this: You can conserve your data use for what is important but you cannot conserve speed to engage in an activity that requires 100Mbps+. This is why speed tiers have created a digital divide.

                  2. Tim99 Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    @mathew42

                    I may have not explained this adequately All of our neighbors in private housing in our suburb have FTTP, it was started under the Labor government. Our internet is bulk billed through a single FTTP connection to the comms room in our retirement village. It was planned that way, so that we could all have an adequate and inexpensive service.

                    We currently have 140+ seniors units on our one site. Our wholesaler sells the access to the whole site, each unit pays $33 per month - Hence my calculation, indicating that for most of the time we are not all consuming 100 Mbps. On the very rare occasion that we are all running NetFlix etc at the same time, the wholesaler throttles the site to ~140 x 18 Mbps or roughly 2,500 Mbps (2.5 Gbps). We have discussed pushing up our individual monthly fee, but at the moment, for a few hours a month, it is not worth it. The village is still expanding to its planned 250 houses and the comms has been designed to cope with 250 x 100 Mbps (25 Gbps). I would be surprised if we have to pay more than $50/month as our site's traffic continues to increase. As more people move into apartments and self-managed/strata estates our wholesale model makes more sense. Our $33 also includes a friendly local support person.

                    The biggest problem that we had locally was that our Telstra mobile local phone coverage was awful "because you have the NBN so you have less need for it". Our local Telstra mobile performance improved dramatically when Vodaphone offered a better local service, funny that.

                    Anecdotally, many of our private neighbors are with Telstra or Optus; their typical FTTP plans include streaming entertainment, unlimited national VOIP, 1000+GB of data @50Mbs for about $120/month. To get something similar we would have to add our $18 VOIP (Includes a monitored personal alarm, but has a 9 cent flagfall for non-local calls - My bill is typically $23), and $12 for Netflix to our $33 giving a total monthly fee of ~$68, which I think is pretty reasonable.

                    1. mathew42

                      > Our internet is bulk billed through a single FTTP connection to the comms room in our retirement village. It was planned that way, so that we could all have an adequate and inexpensive service.

                      This makes sense.

                      > On the very rare occasion that we are all running NetFlix etc at the same time, the wholesaler throttles the site to ~140 x 18 Mbps or roughly 2,500 Mbps (2.5 Gbps).

                      NBNCo don't provide a wholesale service above 1Gbps. It wouldn't surprise me if you have a single 100Mbps or possibly 250Mbps service. You might have a second FTTP connection for VoIP. I very much doubt you have 2.5Gbps as the wholesale price for CVC is $17.50/Mbps = $17,500 for 1Gbps

                      If it is an NBNCo FTTP connection it is just a likely that congestion at the RSP's PoI is causing the throttling in the evening as your neghbours arrive home from work.

                      > My bill is typically $23), and $12 for Netflix to our $33 giving a total monthly fee of ~$68, which I think is pretty reasonable.

                      Yes, I agree this is a great deal for a 100Mbps connection. You should find that the other residents join that monthly costs per resident should fall, however if data usage grows prices may need to rise.

              2. Jasonk

                Yet Mathew 85% are choosing 100Mbps in NZ

              3. Vid

                As usual your numbers and conclusions are ridiculous Mathew...it is the reason you have been named troll on most every Forum I have read.

                Only a fool would think that building a network like the NBN should be focused on what demand is last week or today...since it takes a decade to build it, the network must be focused on what will be required in a decade. That need has been expected to be at least 1Gbps by 2020...this is expected by every modern country in the world except us, and even quite a few 3rd world countries. We are fast becoming irrelevant in the Global economy, and this MTM is one of the biggest causes...

                1. mathew42
                  FAIL

                  > As usual your numbers and conclusions are ridiculous Mathew...it is the reason you have been named troll on most every Forum I have read.

                  These are not my numbers. They are numbers from Labor's NBNCo Corporate Plans or numbers published by NBNCo.

                  > That need has been expected to be at least 1Gbps by 2020...this is expected by every modern country in the world except us, and even quite a few 3rd world countries.

                  I don't disagree, even Labor's first corporate plan explained very clearly that all the eHealth, eEducation, etc. services required a minimum of 100Mbps.

                  > We are fast becoming irrelevant in the Global economy, and this MTM is one of the biggest causes...

                  This I dispute. If Labor had designed FTTP without speed tiers then Australia would have become a place of global innovation because tech companies would know that 90% would have 1Gbps connections. Instead due to a simple choice that Labor made to impose speed tiers we have ended up wtih 85% choosing 25Mbps or slower.

                  Consider this: if speed tiers were removed from FTTN, 85% would experience a faster connection than 85% choosing 25Mbps or slower on FTTP. How crazy is that?

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              "As outlined in out previous correspondence, our normally works fine. ...The new supplier is better, offering unlimited "unthrottled" data at $33/month - Currently Speedtest is showing 86Mbps down and 38Mbs up"
              Please don't assume that because you can access such plans that we in the sticks can also. Because of contract I'm still stuck with 50 GB for $39.90 per month. We move to town soon so churning would be pointlessly costly at this point. It will be interesting to discover if FTTN is as bad as it is being painted since that is what we will be offered.

          2. TheBBG

            You need to get a life oh Pompous one. The FTTP product might not be perfect (and probably far from it) but is at least reasonably current technology. The rest is rubbish built for the last century. Nice rant though, and nice you hate anyone apparently not an LNP supporter. FWIW I am politically agnostic and support the best programs not the cheapest or most expedient eg, an independent voter.

            1. mathew42
              FAIL

              > FWIW I am politically agnostic and support the best programs not the cheapest or most expedient eg, an independent voter.

              What points to you use to define a program building a 1Gbps FTTP network which planned for < 1% to be connected at 1Gbps in 2026 and has resulted in 85% connecting at 25Mbps or slower as the best program?

              The sad reality is that FTTN is delivering the same performance as FTTP for 85% of people by choice. In fact if NBN removed speed tiers from FTTN it would result in 85% of people of FTTN having better performance than the FTTP.

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              "You need to get a life oh Pompous one. The FTTP product might not be perfect (and probably far from it) but is at least reasonably current technology. The rest is rubbish built for the last century."
              As it happens, it was part of the ALP NBN Plan for us to be put on FW that you describe as "rubbish built for the last century". The Minister for Communications at the time we were told this was to be the case was one Stephen Conroy who as far as I can tell was never in the NLP. What we weren't told was that fully a third of my neighbours weren't even to get FW as there's no signal, so they are inflicted with satellite. We do however get to keep our telephones on copper strung on poles that could easily have carried fibre. Being an ALP initiative, presumably you think this was the "best plan" for us. I don't and would have much preferred FTTP.

              FWIW, for many years I was secretary of the local branch of the ALP. However, I don't let this get in the way of my preferring the best technological solutions, nor do I hate anyone who is not a LNP supporter.

              I also note that part of the ALP NBN Plan was to remove the privately installed FTTP at Dover (the first such in Australia before ADSL even; it was for ISDN) with what you describe as "rubbish built for the last century".

              The big selling points of FTTP were the capacity for speeds of 1 Gbps and reliability. I fail to see either in the real world. YMMV.

              1. Vid

                "As it happens, it was part of the ALP NBN Plan for us to be put on FW"

                The ALP commercial rollout only lasted just over a year. There were significant programs under way even then to change and improve that rollout (project Fox, skinny fibre, etc...). The point being, that ALP plan under Quigley was constantly improving, so reading what the plan was at the beginning is not a clear indicator of what the end product would have been...

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  @ vid

                  It may not have been "commercial" (whatever you mean by that term), but Mrs Git's work colleague has had NBN for 7 years come September. The NTD was replaced several years ago because the original was deemed obsolete. It didn't solve the problem of intermittent periods of no service so not sure what that improved.

                  The Quigley plan we were presented with immediately prior to the election was for our locality to get FW. A significant proportion of our locale didn't; they got satellite instead. Is that what you mean by an improvement? Given the local topography and the already in-place poles that still carry electricity and telephony, to my mind it would have made more sense to have provided FTTP.

                  But then the FW node doesn't connect to the main fibre backbone in its immediate vicinity. The connection is via a several hundred metre underground link that a dude from Telstra told me cost ~$1,000,000. Goes with the NTD cost of $600 instead of the $15 Ethernet port that suffices in the civilised world.

                  I find it endlessly amusing when it's claimed these issues are the fault of the coalition when they weren't even in power.

                  1. jpharri

                    Re: @ vid

                    The NBN under ALP/Quigly was meant to have a positive rate of return, with the intention to:

                    1) pay back government investment

                    2) push fibre further into the wireless connection areas

                    That is no longer possible as the copper based MTM costs more to operate & maintain.

                    We were sold a solid fibre based workhorse which was changed to a refurbed EH ute with the promise of cheaper to build, cheaper plans, faster rollout, fast enough, and sub $5k FoD technology upgrade to fibre.

                    It is blatantly obvious that every one of those promises was a lie.

                    I'd rather have spent the little bit extra over another year or so to at least have something worthwhile in the end.

                  2. Vid

                    Re: @ vid

                    @Git

                    That was a test system, meaning they were part of the trial phase used to see what would work.

                    There were test systems deployed for the trials in 2010, but the first POI wasn't even installed until May 2012, and the Telstra agreement was finally signed in March of 2012.

                    The reason that the Quigley plan called for Fixed Wireless and Sat for the near term is that to make those 7% of places FTTP would increase the cost more than 50%. That is a bad decision...

                    That said, the cost of FTTP drops drastically as cost cuttings are discovered over time. For example, the Verizon cost per premises started out at almost $5,000, but over a few years it has dropped to about $800.

                    In NZ, the cost per premises reduced from almost $5k to $2k already...

                    For the outlying 7%, converting them to FTTP would have taken longer, but as the costs reduced they would most certainly have been converted.

                    Your "Dude from Telstra" was an idiot...and comparing an NTD to an ethernet port makes no sense at all. An NTD has several ethernet ports, but that is not what terminates your signal. I don't think you understand what you are talking about...

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: @ vid

                      "Your "Dude from Telstra" was an idiot...and comparing an NTD to an ethernet port makes no sense at all. An NTD has several ethernet ports, but that is not what terminates your signal. I don't think you understand what you are talking about..."
                      The dude from Telstra was talking about the cost of the very long trench to connect two systems together when a very short trench would have sufficed. The $15 for an Ethernet port for access to boradband came from a Japanese telco dude via Simon Hackett. I don't think Hackett's "an idiot".

                      Please explain why I need four Ethernet ports when surely one would suffice. The $600 cost for the NTD came from the nbn Co installer.

          3. grump3

            The Facts:

            Turnbull was ordered to "Demolish the NBN" a task he has accomplished to perfection at a massive cost & now you wonder why his MTM is "underperforming"? LOL!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cu online

    Possibly.

    1. Urh

      Re: Cu online

      Probably Next Tuesday.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is only the tip of the ice burg

    there are so many problems with the NBN.

    the contractor base (me) cant talk to NBN they are the demon that we are all threatened with.

    errickson are helpful after waiting hours to get on to the 3-4 guys in installer help,

    Skybridge, hills, bsa handle the installer base, much like the cow boys of old, they use threats and abuse, no work ,hold up payment, send you to jobs that have , already been done, cant be done for physical reasons (often 3 and more times),

    all of our gods have f@#ked logistics, assigning supplies that you never get, but have to accept to get jobs signed off for payment,

    I could go on and on but no one is interested in the truth, just the hype

    1. sbd

      Re: this is only the tip of the ice burg

      "Skybridge, hills, bsa handle the installer base, much like the cow boys of old, they use threats and abuse, no work, hold up payment, send you to jobs that have , already been done, cant be done for physical reasons (often 3 and more times),"

      I want to see some stories along the lines of...

      "Can't make it to that scheduled job tomorrow"

      "Why not, you'd better get there or else"

      "Because I don't have enough petrol to get there, because you @#)$*@# didn't pay me"

      I'm going to be doing that with slow/non payers this year, it reaches a point where it's better to not have the work at all. At least you've then the time spare to allot to better clients.

  4. Len Brown

    Again the original promise of FTTH is reninged

    We were told by the Government all of Australia premises would get Fibre. Then it was to the Node. Now some will get it via copper - copper Telstra had spent 100+ years laying around Australia. But NBN wanted to make the copper redundant.

    By the time the NBN is completed, there will be companies like Google et all who will be able to give us other solutions for our internet, most likely faster than a lot of premises without FTTH.

    Regardless of political parties in power, we were sold FTTH - which would have made Australians able to proceed in business and personal ventures at best available speed.

    I liken this to Victoria's desalination plant in Wonthaggi . My son, an Apprentice Electrician, was paid $4200 per week to work on it. And it has never been used - and only will to con Victorian citizens it was worth the money. We only needed to build a pipeline to the excess water from our Northern states to fill our existing dams.

    1. mathew42
      FAIL

      Re: Again the original promise of FTTH is reninged

      > By the time the NBN is completed, there will be companies like Google et al

      It would have been far cheaper for Labor to give Google $20 billion back in 2010 to build a wholesale 1Gbps network across Australia. We would have ended up with a service far superior to Labor's FTTP. However ideology prevented Labor from negotiating with the private sector. Instead they have recreated a government telecommunications monopoly with all of the associated issues.

      > Regardless of political parties in power, we were sold FTTH - which would have made Australians able to proceed in business and personal ventures at best available speed.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but with FTTH (FTTP) Labo never intended for Australians to have the best speed, instead they added speed tiers to the pricing model resulting in 85% of Australians connecting at 25Mbps or slower.

  5. Colin Tree

    Hand's up

    OK,

    my hand's up to pay my extra $252 for FTTP instead of FTTN.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021