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Australia's $44B Broadband Network May Settle For Fiber Near the Home

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the first-order-approximation dept.

Australia 229

Garabito writes "In April 2009, Australia's then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, dropped a bombshell on the press and the global technology community: His social democrat Labor administration was going to deliver broadband Internet to every single resident of Australia. It was an audacious goal, not least of all because Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth. ... So now, after three years of planning and construction, during which workers connected some 210 000 premises (out of an anticipated 13.2 million), Australia's visionary and trailblazing initiative is at a crossroads. The new government plans to deploy fiber only to the premises of new housing developments. For the remaining homes and businesses — about 71 percent — it will bring fiber only as far as curbside cabinets, called nodes. Existing copper-wire pairs will cover the so-called last mile to individual buildings."

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229 comments

Don't they have an fiber to the node cable network (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#45612377)

Don't they have an fiber to the node cable network in place now? why not just build off of that?

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612459)

Because I farted.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (3, Informative)

fru1tcake (1152595) | about 4 months ago | (#45612641)

No. Most people don't have cable, but instead have ADSL over copper phone lines from the interchange to the home. Pay TV is not ubiquitous, and AFAIK is mostly served via satellite. I live in a fairly typical suburb and the interchange is a few kilometres away, so max download speed is around 4-5 Kb/s.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 4 months ago | (#45612849)

max download speed is around 4-5 Kb/s.

Either you have a typo there, or you should consider upgrading to a modem from the 80's ;)

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#45613599)

Not sure what you are calling a "typical suburb"? Fibre optic to the home is common in the major cities, there were two competing networks set up in the 90's for cable TV, Optus and Telstra. The 1990's cable rollout "race" by private telco's was an even more ridiculous state of affairs than the NBN, two companies hung wires in the same (profitable) places using the same poles, then ignored the rest of the country. In the 90's they were banging your door down to hook you up, offering free cable just to have the wire hooked to your house. The odd thing is that these days neither cable network operator will hook up an apartment/flat/unit to cable, but have no problems hooking up the house next door provided cable is already hung on that street..

The cable I am using from home to type this post is currently running at 19Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up, I don't know anyone who has satellite TV but quite a few that have cable. I live in the burbs about 20km east of Melbourne CBD. It's a different story for my daughter who lives 300km east of Melbourne CBD, her experience is closer to what you describe. It costs me ~$70/m and last time I looked ~250GB limit.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

thedarknite (1031380) | about 4 months ago | (#45613975)

I used to live with an Optus cable technician and the Telstra and Optus networks are not Fibre to the Home. They are Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial networks, so fibre to a node point and then coaxial to the homes that node services, with only a few nodes per suburb. It's still better than ADSL but the copper component still limits the overall speeds.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612659)

AN fiber?

What are you? American?

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612879)

AN fiber?

What are you? American?

Are you sure you know where America is?

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 4 months ago | (#45612697)

When you say 'cable', are you referring to cable as in US-style cable TV (and internet, using DOCSIS)?

If so, then no, most areas of Australia do not have this. Subscription TV is delivered by satellite in virtually all areas of Australia, save for small sections of urban Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Far more cost effective for such a big and sparsely settled continent. So the cable footprint would be lucky to cover 5 or 10% of the population.

Currently most people in Australia get their internet via ye olde copper phone line using ADSL2+ (which can provide up to 24 Mbps if you have a short line, but degrades rapidly and can barely push a few Mbps at distances of 4-6 km, depending on the quality and gauge of line).

FTTN rollout would thus require that nodes be built, branching out from or replacing the current telephone exchanges/central offices (where lines currently terminate) so that they would be no further than a few hundred metres from any given house, and leverage the existing phone lines as much as possible to cover the remaining distance. You can push 50-100 Mbps using VDSL2 over these kind of distances. But only if the lines are in good condition (which they aren't, in many cases).

It should also be pointed out that most newer areas (built in the last 10 years or so) already have fibre right to the door, and also that some parts of the original FTTH NBN network have already been completed (I have some friends that are already on it, at 100 Mbps). But the rollout is still only 10% complete at most.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 4 months ago | (#45612737)

I should point out, if you're American, that some parts of AT&T's U-verse service are precisely this - fibre to the node, then VDSL to the premises. Not true in all areas though - U-verse also uses ADSL2+ and even some ADSL1 in some areas still, I believe.

Compare to Verizon FiOS which is a true FTTH service.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45612881)

Verizon FiOS is FTToutsideofTH, not fiber to the router. They actually use cable (as in nasty TV connectors) to link the fiber termination box to the TV cable box and the WiFi router.
It actually makes it more flexible to install and doesn't impact bandwidth given the reach, but it's fundamentally no different than fiber to the curb.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 4 months ago | (#45612927)

I think the Australian FTTH proposal technically only delivers fibre to the 'outside' of the house too. Or more exactly, it's fibre to the ONT (Optical Network Termination). The installers will then run CAT6/ethernet to a point inside the house for you (or multiple points if you want to pay for it).

Don't quote me on it but I believe the ONT can be placed either inside or outside the building, or in a garage etc. Depends on the particular house.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45613067)

Makes sense.
Pulling fiber through existing walls is a pain, when cable can just be rammed through, and most people can't be trusted with optical fibers and connectors: "look Ma, I can bend it along the edge of the shelf and then loop it around that nail, stop kneading and give me a hand"

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

David_W (35680) | about 4 months ago | (#45613135)

Don't quote me on it but I believe the ONT can be placed either inside or outside the building, or in a garage etc. Depends on the particular house.

I can confirm that is generally correct for FIOS (so I can't imagine why it wouldn't be in Oz), since at my old house it was inside, my current one it is outside, and I've visited homes with it in the garage.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

Mithrandir (3459) | about 4 months ago | (#45613457)

Friend of mine just moved into a new house that has NBN on it in NW Sydney. Fibre goes all the way to a termination box inside the garage and then he has standard cat6 ethernet ports connected to the fibre modem. No ability to have a fibre switch in there according to him.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

BiggerBadderBen (947100) | about 4 months ago | (#45613027)

When we lived in Maryland in 2006, we had one of the earlier FIOS installations. The 'outside box' had three cables going into the house: Cat3 (or something like that) for phone, Cat5 for data and coax for TV. I think they've gone through a few generations of equipment since then, but I'd consider our configuration true FTTH.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 4 months ago | (#45613447)

You can do Ethernet to the ONT if you want to, which can eliminate the Verizon router inside altogether (if you don't use them for TV). To upgrade to gigabit you need a new ONT usually, but the system can easily accommodate gigabit throughout.

AT&T's service is a mess in comparison. I've had several friends who needed the 30-year old copper replaced at least from the street to the demark point.

Today using FTTN as anything but a stopgap to FTTH is really a joke.

For Australia, the original goal and benefit of the NBN was that the physical infrastructure is independent of the service provider. FTTN makes that difficult.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

wilson_c (322811) | about 4 months ago | (#45614153)

U-verse did include FTTP at one point: I had fiber to my router in an apartment I lived in 3 years ago. However, U-verse is now nothing in particular since AT&T have rolled all of their residential data offerings under the U-verse banner, including sub-1Mbps DSL that they will still sell as U-verse service.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (0)

cheesee (97693) | about 4 months ago | (#45612955)

Living in suburban Adelaide I can tell you that Subscription TV via cable is nearly universal here. Cable internet used to be huge here but has been replaced by DSL services.

And everyone knows wired data transfer is dying (and not in a BSD way), both governments plans are a waste of money.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (2)

no_go (96797) | about 4 months ago | (#45613567)

Everyone knows ?

I don't.

Using cables has an enormous advantage:
It doesn't foul up the RF spectrum (or not as much as with Radio emitters).

Wireless may be a lot more convenient (in terms of equipment connectivity and installation), but has some serious capacity limitations:
- RF spectrum occupancy. (In which they will be in competition with : TV, radio, satellite, baby cams, wifi, Air traffic control, police, the list goes on and on and on...)
- Limited number of possible clients for each location and frequency. (if you need to enable access to more endpoints in the same location, you need another set of frequencies. In some cases you will also need both more antennas and more Radio equipment)
- Very expensive base station equipment.
Energy usage is also a lot lot higher.

Whatever advances you may get in RF that enable more bandwidth, you will almost certainly have the same with cable technologies.
It will be a long time (if ever) until we are fully wireless.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 4 months ago | (#45613161)

So New Zealand has better internal than Australia? Ha Ha.
We've got ADSL2+ and VDSL with fibre going to street cabinets where homes are more than a few km from exchanges.

TelstraClear was gloating about their fibre to the node before they pulled out of the country and sold themselves to Vodafone when the government said they would over-build their DOCSIS network.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 4 months ago | (#45613765)

Subscription TV is delivered by satellite in virtually all areas of Australia, save for small sections of urban Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Far more cost effective for such a big and sparsely settled continent. So the cable footprint would be lucky to cover 5 or 10% of the population.

It's actually about 28% of the population. http://delimiter.com.au/2013/02/15/turnbull-confirms-hfc-areas-last-to-get-fttn-if-at-all/ [delimiter.com.au]

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612937)

The HFC, like the copper, is not government owned.

Re:Don't they have an fiber to the node cable netw (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#45613511)

Australia has thin copper to the exchange or digital loop carrier (DLC) (RIM Remote Integrated Multiplexer).
The copper is old, has be patched up over years. The fixes are usually to get the service working again - as in data and voice - not a real repair. So a lot of copper lines are now shared and the amount of spare lines has dropped over many years.
Back at the exchange you have an adsl 2+ card via your isp or the telco (rented). Hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) exists by only for the push of pay tv and internet via the telco who rolled it out.
Australia had looked at the options:
Copper to a powered, cooled node then onto optical at a cabinet in the street level. If you wanted optical to the node, you would have to pay extra and then pay more for 'rental' of the new optical line. Add too much optical to the home and the copper and the Node has to start to balance power, cooling and speed.
The other aspect is copper costs (buy or rent) and who pays for the upkeep and power given that its a telco's copper and they want 'rent' or a sale..
The other option was clean, new optical that needs less electrical power (and skilled workers for power/telco work per street). The speed of the optical can then be set well into the future.
The main points are the telco 'sale' of copper or long term 'rental' deal vs just been "another" isp/telco on optical.
Hybrid fiber-coaxial was also seen as been opened to 'other' telco/isp but the speed and congestion would not be useful over time.

Not an issue, provided... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#45612399)

Fiber to the node is fine as long as whatever goes from the node to the end-user device can get the job done. If you are within 90 meters, CAT6 can do 1GHz.

Now, as for squeezing good speeds out of the existing telephone-grade "last mile," well, if there is money to be made, someone will be working on this problem.

Realistically though, most users would be fine if they could record a handful of HDTV-channels at once, surf the web or watch YouTube videos on 3-4 computers at once, and download Windows Updates in a timely manner, all at the same time. Those who need more should have the option of paying for a direct fiber line to their home.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

tomstorey (1444585) | about 4 months ago | (#45612561)

Im not sure that kind of build methodology really works. You'd be coming back several times to build fibre down any given street to hook up those customers who at random times want fibre instead of copper. And since this is a PON network, youre going to be running a lot of point to point fibre back to a location somewhere to hook in to a splitter, versus tapping into an access point in the pit out front of the property.

And then when someone moves, and the previous occupier had fibre, but the new one doesnt want it, do you just leave that infrastructure floating?

If youre going to do anything down a street you might as well do it just once, and get everyone on it in one go and then pull out the old infrastructure. They could probably recoup some of the build cost by recycling all of the copper they could pull out.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612587)

This is infrastructure for the future of the nation. We are paying for this now to last the next fifty to a hundred years just like the copper network has. The issue is not that it will provide a service that is 'fine'. The issue is that what is provided relies on a slow, outdated and highly degraded copper network. The copper network in australia is almost at the brink of failure, network engineers have described it as non-repairable. The new Government wants to save a few million dollars now by installing fiber to the node only, unfortunately this is going to cost billions of dollars ion the near future when we have to rip up all the old fiber connections to the nodes and re-run fiber to replace copper.
Yes the solution may be fine now for most Australians, getting a full 10-22 meg broadband service will let most people "record a handful of HDTV-channels at once, surf the web or watch YouTube videos on 3-4 computers at once", However in ten or twenty years what kind of bandwidth requirements will we have? I know twenty years ago I was happy with 56 kbps dialup... now I shudder at the thought of that kind of bandwidth.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#45612777)

However in ten or twenty years what kind of bandwidth requirements will we have?

In the United States, the analog "plain old telephone" network was designed to handle 300 to 3400Hz voice traffic, which in practice allowed for 9600bps communication at 2400 baud even if the telephone switches were using 1970s (or older?) technology and the wire from the switch to the end user was who-knows-how-old. By the 1980s, we had developed mathematics and modems that could use the same lines to get up to about 33.6kbps at 3,429 baud.

Disclaimer: The above is from unreferenced text available at Wikipedia (Modem [wikipedia.org], as of 22:53, 26 November 2013). Caveat reader.

In any case, odds are, whatever we put in the ground today, in 20 years we'll be able to do more with it than we can today.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45613257)

In any case, odds are, whatever we put in the ground today, in 20 years we'll be able to do more with it than we can today.

Yes and no. There is a phenomenal amount of black magic working on getting basic DSL running at those frequencies. It is basically accepted that eventually you'll reach fundamental physical limitations of the signals that you can send down the wire. Even ADSL2+ only works at 25mbps if you're within a stone's throw of the exchange and quickly deteriorates beyond. Yes there's been a proof of concept of 100mbps but from what I remember of that slashdot article it only worked within 20m of the exchange.

Bottom line is eventually you reach the physical limitations of the bandwidth you have available.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (3, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 4 months ago | (#45613727)

Note: this post is from a UK perspective, things may vary a little arround the world.

By the 1980s, we had developed mathematics and modems that could use the same lines to get up to about 33.6kbps at 3,429 baud.

And then things more or less stopped there. There was one more marginal speed increase (56K) but they had pretty much hit fundamental limits of the phone system. Pushing speeds further required bypassing parts of the phone network.

ISDN BRI delivered slightly better speeds in the 90s but the way it was priced (if you wanted a 128k connection you had to pay for two phone calls in addition to the ISDN line itself costing more than twice what an analog phone line did, AIUI most unmetered dialup packages allowed single channel ISDN but not dual channel ISDN) made it an expensive option. ADSL turned up in the early 2000s but again it was initially expensive.

ADSL gradually improved through the 00s first with the providers getting more confident and taking the artificial limits off and then by the providers moving to ADSL2. However while speeds improved so did the gap between the haves and the have nots. Those close to the phone exchange could get 20mpbs, those stuck a long way from the exchange got less than 1mbps and we have pretty much hit the limit of what phone cables can carry over long distances even with advanced modulation techniques.

In any case, odds are, whatever we put in the ground today, in 20 years we'll be able to do more with it than we can today.

The problems with mixed fiber/dsl systems don't really have anything to do with the fiber that is being put in the ground.

1: it still relies on that old phone wiring for the last hop. There are a few tricks we can pull but we have pretty much hit the limits of what those cables can carry over those distances. You still have the "cable length lottery" except now it's distance from the point of fiber to copper transition to the house rather than distance from the phone exchange to your house.
2: having all that infrastructure spread out like that makes it very difficult to do incremental upgrades. When ADSL was introduced they could start by putting one DSLAM in a phone exchange and patching the subscribers to it, when one DSLAM filled up they could add another. It didn't matter that only a few percent of customers were taking DSL intitially because the phone exchange was large. On the other hand there were places in the UK that had their POTs and ISDN delivered over an early fiber to the cabinet system and these were among the last to get ADSL because it wasn't worth putting a DSLAM in a cabinet for a handful of subscribers. So even if there was a system that could get a slight improvement over the current VDSL gear rolling it out would be very expensive.

The only real way to substantially improve a "partial fiber" system (fiber to the cabinet, fiber to the distribution point etc) is to push the fiber closer to the subscriber but each time you do that your infrastructure ends up even more spread out. Eventually you get to the point that you may as well just take the fiber all the way.

On the other hand with a fiber to the home system all you have to upgrade to deliver faster speeds is the consumer premises equipment and the exchange equipment. All the outdoor infrastructure can remain the same. Plus current fiber to the home equipment has a much wider margin over current needs than the VDSL that is being deployed in current fiber to the cabient system.

Deploying fiber to the cabinet now means in a few years time either internet speeds will stagnate again or a fiber to the home project will be needed anyway making the fiber to the cabinet equiment redundant.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 4 months ago | (#45613055)

We are paying for this now to last the next fifty to a hundred years just like the copper network has.

Good luck with that. Copper was sufficient for 100 years because for 80 of those years it wasn't used for anything more than the occasional analog voice call (or eventually a dial up modem). Even in the last 20 years technology improvements have resulted in more than one round of major infrastructure upgrades everywhere BUT the last mile to allow increasing bandwidth and capacity.

Of course, you can make an educated guess that applications will exist in 20-30 years that may require gigabits to the home - but it's just not economically worth building that out now and not using it vs waiting 20 years when the technology may be orders of magnitude less expensive to implement.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612611)

Wrong. 1GHz is a frequency unit. It means analog bandwidth which is incorrect.
>CAT6 can do 1GHz.

http://www.cablek.com/technical-reference/cat-5---5e--6--6a---7--standards
>The draft extends CAT6 electrical specifications from 250 MHz to 500 MHz.

Cat6 can carry 1Gbps data. The actual bandwidth that 1Gbps Ethernet requires is about 80MHz.
They use 4 pairs of cable to transfer 5 analog level signals at 125M symbols/sec.
5 analog levels gives 2-bit of information plus addition sideband and error detection.
So 2x4x125Mbps = 1Gbps

So 125M symbols means at most 62.25M transitions per second. A bit of DSP narrowed it down to 80MHz of analog bandwidth.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about 4 months ago | (#45612953)

Now, as for squeezing good speeds out of the existing telephone-grade "last mile," well, if there is money to be made, someone will be working on this problem.

And someone has. VDSL2 can do 50Mbps at 1km and 100Mbps at 0.5km, which, while still not quite FTTH speeds, is going to be a huge upgrade over the crap they probably have now.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613461)

At what upload rate?

God I'd kill to be able to get designs and data to my clients without an overnight upload.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#45614035)

At what upload rate?

Depends on how the provider splits the "asymmetry" of the line

If you had a high-upload/low-download requirement then your needs should technically be doable using this technology.

Whether or not your provider will offer such a service or if they will offer it at a price that isn't "designed to never sell" (i.e. above the cost of a high-capacity line that offers oodles of bandwidth in both directions) is a business decision, not a technical one.

God I'd kill to be able to get designs and data to my clients without an overnight upload.

By the way, for uses like yours, you may want to just do everything except local i/o (e.g. printing, scanning, typing, teleconferencing, etc.) either "in the cloud" or on a server that's hosted someplace with good connectivity. Yes, you'll give up some control and you'll have to pay a monthly fee that you don't currently pay, but it may be your best - or only - option.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (4, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45613191)

Actually it IS an issue. The previous government was planning to spend $37bn to provide FTTH which gives a future proof network and guarantees a starting speed of 100Mbps. By that I mean the next logical upgrade is a simple change of gear either end of the fibre making the network future proof. They were anticipating that most households would be able to cheaply upgrade to 1Gbps internet in the future.
Compared to that the current government wants to spend $20bn and provide FTTN at 25Mbps which I don't consider much of an upgrade from the current 25Mbps.

The previous government's plan was to spend double the amount to upgrade the internet for most Australians, and the current government is still spending a fortune for what will not be an upgrade for people in major cities, is in fact slower than the two major telcos current cable networks, gives benefit of a fast cabled connection to a few coastal towns, and then sticks the of rural Australian on either high latency satellite, or an overly congested wireless link.

As for upgrading the last mile if there's money to be made, you don't really understand the way these networks here work. We live in a country where some of the installation of the last mile was so cheap that people couldn't get more than one phone line to their house. That's right they split the 2pair phone line between 2 houses. It's a country where the last mile of copper is rapidly corroding due to cheap maintenance over the last 20 years. Even in major city centres its somewhat accepted in areas that your internet will drop out when it rains. Oh better yet the last mile is owned by one company.

I am still wondering how the coalition promoted the former Telstra CEO who absolutely destroyed the value of Telstra, who accepted that fines from the Ombudsman were a cost of doing business, to the CEO of NBN Co. It's almost like they deliberately want this to fail. I can think of better things to do with $20bn than waste it on nothing.

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#45614089)

Sounds like someone wanted to push customers into using wireless data plans ...

... or they wanted to push businesses out of your city or country.

Of the two, which do you think is the more plausible explaination?

Re:Not an issue, provided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613721)

The "last mile" is from the company's local office out to either the node or the curb (depending on how the topology is setup). The portion from the curb or node to the structure is referred to as a "drop".

Re:Not an issue, provided... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 4 months ago | (#45614145)

The "last mile" is from the company's local office out to either the node or the curb (depending on how the topology is setup). The portion from the curb or node to the structure is referred to as a "drop".

This may be technically true but in many people's "common sense" understanding - including my own until I read your post - the "last mile" is the "last" portion of the "line" not owned or controlled by the customer which connects directly to customer-owned/managed equipment.

In my mind and probably that of many others not in the telephone industry, the "drop" is the part of the "last mile" where the "wire" (or fiber, or whatever) leaves the "bundle" that feeds the neighborhood (or whatever) and goes to the where it connects to the customer's equipment. For typical home phone customers in the United States, this would be from someplace on the pole or someplace in a telco box typically near the edge of the homeowner's property or perhaps on a neighbor's property to the "DMARC" where it connects up with the customer's "inside wiring."

Correction: In the mind of probably most non-industry people, terms like "last mile" and "drop" probably fall into the "don't know/don't care, just give me service that does what I need it to at a fair price, dammit!" category.

Pragmatic choice (0)

satsuke (263225) | about 4 months ago | (#45612499)

While FTTH everywhere is laudable, it might turn out to be impractical in the more rural areas and existing dense housing.

VDSL+ _should_ be enough for most uses if priced appropriately.

Re:Pragmatic choice (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 4 months ago | (#45612597)

Well it was never going to be FTTH ~everywhere~. The original plan proposed by the Labor government was for every town with more than 1000 people to have FTTH, with the remainder being served with either fixed wireless, or for the most remote 1% or so, satellite (which is already available of course, but the plan included a significant upgrade of satellite speeds and capacity). Doing the calculations, it essentially meant 93% of the population would get FTTH.

The Liberal government from the outset said that if they got elected, they'd scale back the FTTH and rely mostly on FTTN/VDSL for existing developed areas (though, still supporting FTTH for new greenfields development, since if you have to lay cable anyway it may as well be fibre). As you say, that's probably fast enough for most purposes provided you can keep copper line lengths down to a few hundred metres at most.

The criticisms of this revised plan, broadly speaking, are that:

1. Much of the existing copper is in bad condition and would need to be replaced anyway anyway to deliver decent VDSL speeds and reliability. Telstra, responsible for managing the copper network, has publicly stated that they consider the copper network at end of life.

2. The Liberals' plan, compared to the original Labor plan, would only result in cost savings of 20-30%, yet deliver an outcome that is a lot more than 20-30% worse (in terms of speeds, reliability and future capacity for growth and upgrades).

Re:Pragmatic choice (1)

fru1tcake (1152595) | about 4 months ago | (#45613141)

As you say, that's probably fast enough for most purposes...

For most present-day purposes, perhaps. If 100Mb/s+ broadband is ubiquitous in a few years, along with whatever other technology is coming along, no-one knows today what opportunities will be created.

Re:Pragmatic choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613425)

100Mb/s+ has been ubiquitous in countries with far bigger populations and economies than australia for a long time now, I keep hearing this excuse that once Australia has 100mbs all sorts of new technologies will be created. It hasn't happened elsewhere, why would such a tiny population suddenly create this surge in technology when more advanced and economically viable areas haven't. Australia will NEVER be a catalyst for technical advancement, the population base is simply too small, every house could have 100 gig connections it would still change nothing except put us in even more debt.

Re:Pragmatic choice (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#45613373)

1. Much of the existing copper is in bad condition and would need to be replaced anyway anyway to deliver decent VDSL speeds and reliability. Telstra, responsible for managing the copper network, has publicly stated that they consider the copper network at end of life.

I have three questions:
1. Does Telestra still own the copper?
2. As part of the NBN, does Telestra have to lease their copper to anyone that wants to provide service over it?

2. The Liberals' plan, compared to the original Labor plan, would only result in cost savings of 20-30%, yet deliver an outcome that is a lot more than 20-30% worse (in terms of speeds, reliability and future capacity for growth and upgrades).

I recall reading a few months ago that Rupert Murdoch was trying to screw with the elections so that Rudd (Labor) would lose and his 90%+ FTTH plan would die and be replaced by FTTN.

3. So how did it come to pass that Rudd won, yet Labor's FTTH plan died and got replaced by the Liberal Party's FTTN?

Re:Pragmatic choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614069)

Rudd was the leader of the Labor party for a short time before the recent election. The labor party lost the election to the Liberal party who now have a majority.

It should be noted that Rudd was also Labor leader previous to his most recent stint as leader and he was usurped by a competitor (Gillard) within his own party, due to his low popularity at the time, whilst they retained government; this happened without a election by the Australian public. When the support for Labor, under Gillard's leadership, was recently at a very low point, Rudd usurped to lead a second time and attempt to hold power at the election. This bid was ultimately unsuccessful leading to the broadband situation discussed here. Rudd has since announced his intention to leave politics entirely, despite being a sitting elected member for his area.

In Australia, unfortunately we don't vote for our countries leadership directly. Instead, we vote for a representative of our geographical location who then supposedly represents us in standing in support of a leader of majority choosing. In most cases, the elected representative is a member of a party, and will therefore support the party's chosen leader. Leadership of a party can change without any direct involvement of the Australian people, even whilst the party holds government.

Re:Pragmatic choice (1)

thedarknite (1031380) | about 4 months ago | (#45614081)

3. So how did it come to pass that Rudd won, yet Labor's FTTH plan died and got replaced by the Liberal Party's FTTN?

The Labor party lost and Rudd has subsequently quit as a Member of Parliament

Re:Pragmatic choice (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#45613699)

It *wont* be enough, but it's not because the technology isnt sufficient.

See the fiber to the home is sold as a panacea for problems that it wont actually address. If your uplink is throttled back to nearly nothing it doesnt matter a bit how wide your pipe is otherwise, it's still inadequate. A simple 1gb symmetrical dsl link over copper wire is something the ISPs have the ability to offer but absolutely refuse to. So what will they offer over fibre? 40mbps!!!! (But read the fine print, it's 256k up, and absolutely worthless except for 'consuming' their 'premium' offerings.)

The Private Sector should be paying for this..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612503)

The Private Sector should be paying for this, not the government.

The Australian government used to own Telecom, thus owned the telecommunication infrastructure around Australia.

They then busily sold it off for a quick buck.

Now, they are doing it all again?

I'm in an estate, but the fibre connect, which I paid to connect to, is through Opticomm.

and I mean I paid to be connect my house, to the local fibre.... one off connection fee (I think $600 at the time)

receive FTA / payTV signals through this too, which is spit and run through coaxial when it gets to the house.

100Mbps connection, 1 Terra byte a month download.

Done....

It's funny watching the whole NBN roll-out, which is an absolute joke.....

struggling to maybe get 100mbps rolled out.

while google in the US is rolling out gigabit, and the private sector in UK is doing the same....

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (1)

vivian (156520) | about 4 months ago | (#45612709)

physical network infrastructure, whether it be for roads, water, rail, electricity or data, will always be inherently monopolistic, since it does not make sense to build multiple parallel networks.
The physical network is best built and run b the government, with services run on top of the networks by multiple competing providers who pay a maintenance fee for use of the network.
If you think the physical internet infrastructure is better off built by private companies, then do you also think road networks and water networks should be 100% privately owned?

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612979)

Wouldn't bother me if roads or water were privately run....

electricity is being sold off....

again, the Australian government used to own all the infrastructure.....

they sold it all off, and are wasting money doing it all again.....

your idea is correct, but there is no reason why a privately run company can not do the exact same thing.....

one company own's the infrastructure, and private companies who want access to this, all pay an upkeep fee of the infrastructure....

no reason this needs to be government done at all.... and we all know about how much government run anything wastes a fuck load of money.

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613533)

Telstra.

GG

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 4 months ago | (#45612817)

"while google in the US is rolling out gigabit, and the private sector in UK is doing the same...."

Google are not "rolling out gigabit". Google have realistically done nothing more than a very small-scale trial. Add together the population of everywhere Google Fiber covers or has promised to cover -- that's Kansas City, Austin, Provo, and one neighborhood in Palo Alto -- and make the erroneous assumption that every resident is covered, and you still have a "rollout" that touches only 3.3 million people in a nation of 313.9 million.

That's one percent of the population if you make an erroneous assumption, and far less than one percent in actual fact. More than 99% of the population has no access to Google Fiber, and is unlikely to have access to it in the next decade.

In fact, the vast majority of the US would *love* to have access to anything near 100mbps, because that, for most of us, would be a HUGE upgrade from what we have now. And even if it is available, it's typically accompanied by a ridiculous pricetag.

I'm in the 64th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the US, and I'm lucky to have 100mbps internet available to me -- but it's priced at US$115 per month (AU$127/month) BEFORE equipment charges, fees, taxes, etc. And that price tag also assumes I am paying at least another US$20 (AU$22) per month plus equipment charges, fees, and taxes for TV service, whether I want it or not. Last time I checked, the penalty for not having the TV service was higher than the cost of the TV service.

So realistically, just getting 100mbps internet in the US will set you back US$150 (AU$165) per month, if it's even available to you -- and chances are, it isn't. Gigabit in the US? It's a pipe dream for almost all of us.

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613091)

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/11/bigger-than-google-fiber-la-plans-citywide-gigabit-for-homes-and-businesses/

seems to indicate google want to roll it out....

yes they would pick where people / businesses are first....

or do you expect them to trial it in a suburb where 10 people live?

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613181)

Also, while observers in the US like to think Australia have expensive broadband.....

I'm paying smack on 100 AUD a month... 100Mbps, 1 TB a month....

but if you want less speeds through the fibre infrastructure, you can get it as cheap as $50 a month....

buy the equipment outright yourself.... no other fee's apart from your ISP

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 4 months ago | (#45613579)

So you also didn't read my post, either. I didn't say that Australia had expensive broadband. I said it had *inexpensive* broadband, compared to the US. (But then, most places do.)

Grandparent suggested the US as a model for Australia to follow. I pointed out that the US is a cautionary tale, not a model to follow.

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 4 months ago | (#45613561)

You didn't read your own article, did you? Google have nothing to do with that request for proposal, and the only mention of Google at all is that of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency GM Steve Reneker, who flat-out says what Google are offering with Google Fiber wouldn't be of interest as a proposal, even if they did offer it. (And they haven't, nor likely will they, as they've flat-out said they have no interest in a widespread rollout.)

Re: The Private Sector should be paying for this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613323)

Install was $7k here

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613619)

Private sector has failed a minimum of 4 major times to service this country

1) Telstra, telecom used to work fine, had maintenance crews, kept it all going - telstra laid them all off, brought them back as contractors then pay them to do the minimum amount of work (Thanks LNP)

2) HiBIS - money thrown at businesses to connect people to broadband - private sector scammed it to it's maximum extent

3) Broadband Connect - even more money thrown at business to connect people to broadband - private sector scammed it to it's maximum extent

4) The Australian Broadband Guarantee.....

Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 4 months ago | (#45613935)

while google in the US is rolling out gigabit, and the private sector in UK is doing the same....

In a few small areas.

Most of suburbia in the UK is getting fiber to the cabinet from BT openreach, better than what we had before certainly but way off what fiber to the home can deliver. Openreach are planning to do a "fiber to the premisis on demand" service but it looks like it will be pretty expensive (installation charges predicted to be in the thousands iirc making it impractical for anyone who isn't well settled) and they don't seem to be planning to offer gigabit speeds, upstream in particular seems to be being artificially limited (presumablly to protect expensive buisness fiber services).

Many rural areas look like they will either continue to be stuck with ADSL or possiblly get fiber to the cabinet but not be able to take full advantage of it due to long subloops.

Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (4, Insightful)

kramulous (977841) | about 4 months ago | (#45612541)

Rich prick didn't like the idea of losing his total control of media, so began a relentless attack of the previous government using the current media he has at his control. All sorts of brainwashing techniques were used. It worked.

We had a chance and we blew it.

Re:Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612803)

I blame labor. The only way this useless govt. got in is that with all the infighting and incompetence they seemed like the better option. People learn to late just how extreme these Lib jokers are, and now they claim they have a mandate.

Re:Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#45612959)

I really don't understand it. He's already rich. He's going to lose control, either by something better coming along or him dying. His power isn't going to vanish immediately. What on earth does he have to gain that's worth dicking over democracy and millions of people?

Re:Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613089)

He owns the only pay TV network in Australia, Foxtel and with Australians have access to cheap, fast and reliable brandband it offers competition to his shithouse network. I am Australian and I have just hooked up to the previous governments FTTH network (was being rolled out before the election in my area) and I can finally stream video without constant buffering, I have choice

Re:Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (4, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 4 months ago | (#45613023)

What killed the National Broadband Network as a progressive fibre-based infrastructure project was the politicisation of a technical project. The Parliament (not the Government), having decided to do the project should have allocated the money to the project for the next ten years, got the **** out of the way, and stayed there. However, at the time we had a corrosive opposition party that saw an opportunity to pester an internally fragile, and later minority, government. They could not let cheap political points lie for the greater good. That they had the help of certain vested commercial interests is not surprising, but that was only possible while the political division continued. Had the same politcial effort been put into constructive endeavours aimed at furthering the project we would still have a fibre-to-the-home network project, that was not in danger of being canned entirely (my prediction), and Murdoch and the shock-jocks would have been neutered.

Re:Fuck you Rupert Murdoch! (0)

labnet (457441) | about 4 months ago | (#45614233)

Rich prick didn't like the idea of losing his total control of media, so began a relentless attack of the previous government using the current media he has at his control. All sorts of brainwashing techniques were used. It worked.

We had a chance and we blew it.

Rubbish. The reality is it costs too much.
A full FTP roll out will cost $100B (given how poorly NBN has performed). The takeup will be 25% (Currently only 15% takeup rate)
With 10M connections at 25% takeup is $40k cost of capital per premises.
For a 8% return cost of capital + 5% Interest + 3% operation/maintainence, you are looking at $6400 per annum per household.

Bottom line is, given Australias' low density, we can't afford a gold plated fibre to the home roll out.

supplying fibre to every home (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 4 months ago | (#45612557)

was Labor's (the previous socialist government) voting carrot. With most Australians living in sprawling suburbia it was impossibly expensive. The current (conservative) government was forced to offer a modest substitute to compete for votes. Hopefully they will totally renege on this and then let private enterprise get on with supplying us affordable and innovative access to the internet.

Re:supplying fibre to every home (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 4 months ago | (#45612885)

Problem is, private enterprise will simply cherry pick the few dense and/or wealthy suburbs to roll out to that will generate them the biggest return on investment and cover only those areas (see: Foxtel and Optus cable). While I support an appropriate mix of public and private investment in such things, if it were left to the private sector alone, many smaller and even mid-sized settlements wouldn't have ANY form of broadband today.

Australia, despite its large size and small population, is actually significantly more urbanised than, say, the US. Cover the dozen or so largest cities (capitals plus Newcastle, Wollongong, Gold Coast etc.) and you've got 90%+ of the population (unlike the US which has hundreds of mid-sized cities dotted across the whole country and a much higher percentage living in rural areas). Sprawling suburbia is indeed rampant but at least it's clustered together in a relatively small number of locations.

The Liberal proposal is cheaper and more modest than Labors, but only by 20-30%. Yet it will be finished only a year or two earlier and the outcomes are more than 20-30% inferior (think not only in terms of speed, but future capacity to expand and upgrade the service, and maintenance costs etc.). Labor's proposal was more expensive but actually gets you more bang for buck over the long term, I think.

I'm pretty technologically and politically agnostic on the matter. I don't really care which plan gets up at the end of the day. And if private enterprise covers my area then I'm happy that they do so. But realistically I think the government needs some role in this, if not in actually delivering the network, then at least in mandating certain basic standards of access and rules about geographic coverage.

Re:supplying fibre to every home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613253)

AHAHAHAHA holy fuck you are an absolute idiot calling Labor SOCIALIST.

The rest of your post is about as stupid too.

surprise! it takes money! (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 4 months ago | (#45612793)

and unless you have a New York City density, it takes more money than you can ever get a return on to run FTTH to every hobbit hole and cabin. now, you can remote gig etherswitches and run spokes of fiber off that to cut the cost of cable placement, and you can subtend more dslams on short runs from a control unit, but if you have copper in the ground, it's still valuable. you can punch 100 Mbit/sec from a dslam from 750 or so feet on copper pair, perhaps bonding two pairs, and that's massively sufficient. if you can get within a mile of a house with a dslam, why not use the copper you've got?

What's the speed limit of copper? (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 4 months ago | (#45612815)

So if G.Fast can extend VDSL2 to 1 Gigabit at a couple hundred meters, are people really going to outgrow that by the end of the decade?

Copper links simply lack the capacity to support the massive growth in data consumption that analysts predict. Eventually, Australians will have no choice but to replace those links with fiber, probably before the end of this decade

Since the average speed in Australia is 4.8mbit now it seems unlikely that people are going to be demanding 10gigabit connections in 7 years. Even 100mbit would be about 20 times their current average and VDSL2 can already do 100mbit for short distances.

By the end of the decade, point-to-point (with high-gain directional antennas) wireless networking may be the way to go to get better bandwidth from the fiber cabinet to the home - put an antenna tower on the cabinet and hang an antenna on houses.

Re:What's the speed limit of copper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613193)

You'd need a cabinet for every 10-20 houses. My frontage is 18metres and that is common. SO to get G.fast speeds that's a lot of cabinets.

Re:What's the speed limit of copper? (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#45613247)

Australia is not the US or UK. The average copper diameter is smaller, the number of breaks in the line until it reaches the home can be a factor, the line length, age and quality is different.
VDSL2 is great in the lab but in the real world the speed numbers up and down can drop off.
http://www.zdnet.com/nbn-co-cant-guarantee-libs-50mbps-speed-promise-report-7000023901/ [zdnet.com]
"....only realistically be offered two guaranteed speeds: 12Mbps (with 1Mbps uploads) and 25Mbps (with 5Mbps uploads)."

Re:What's the speed limit of copper? (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 4 months ago | (#45613337)

So after the decade is up, we'll be stuck with the nodes and no clear way to upgrade everyone to FTTH. For an additional 20% now we could have a network that can deliver all of our demands for bandwidth for the next century. If you're going to spend billions, do it right.

Just like the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612869)

Congratulations Australia, you are going to get an internet similar to the USA. Mediocre DSL to the house, but fiber to the curb, just like AT&T has been hyping to gullible public for years. HAHAHAHA

Those costs seem high (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612903)

Does anyone actually know how much was actually spent on this fiber rollout? Because according to the info I can find there are 567,338 miles of roads in Australia, simply dividing that $44 Billion up amongst that comes out to ~$77,500 per mile of cable along the road. That seems exceedingly high, and that's if you were running cable down every single public street & highway. I realize that you can't just run cable and have to have switches, servers and associated hardware but my understanding has always been that those were the cheaper portions of the rollout. I think a local telco rolled out fiber for at least 40 miles of local roads and I don't think it cost them over a million (or about 25,000 per mile) with everything included.

I don't see the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45612907)

5 Mbps should be enough for anybody.

The Best Of A Bad Deal.. (1)

enter to exit (1049190) | about 4 months ago | (#45612913)

What kind of upgrade path is their from FTTN to FTTH? After some googling, all the articles/discussion I've seen about this are marred with political ideology.

If paying for FTTN and then FTTH is individually cheaper then going straight to FTTH (even if the total is more expensive) it may be easier for a future government to sell as prudent policy.

Government finances work differently to normal finances, when you're guaranteed a certain level of tax income, two smaller payment (over a period of time) that sum up to be larger than one big payment can be regarded as easier on the budget and easier to sell politically - most people care about short term costs.

Re:The Best Of A Bad Deal.. (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 4 months ago | (#45613179)

Using the US as a benchmark (it's not perfect, but the mix of single family homes vs apt buildings and overall density is much closer to Oz than, say, South Korea or Europe), we can compare Verizon's FTTH deployment (FiOS) with AT&T's FTTN deployment (U-Verse). Round numbers, U-Verse has cost about $250 per home passed, vs. about $1000 per home passed for FiOS. So, roughly 4:1.

orly? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#45612919)

Copper can carry gigabit or higher and nobody has fiber optic cabling in their house's walls. So yeah, do that, obviously.

Re:orly? (2)

Vylen (800165) | about 4 months ago | (#45613301)

Having FTTH was to also not be reliant on the ageing copper network that has been shown to be temporarily fixed at areas with grocery shopping bags. There are regular outages as the copper fails and millions are spent in maintaining patchwork solutions.

Re:orly? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#45614239)

Taking something sensitive and replacing it with something newer but even more sensitive is kinda dumb. Copper has temperature problems but if you simply bend a fiber optic cable too hard, it breaks. I'd say copper wins there. Fiber is thinner and lighter and thus not quite as tough as solid metal too. A squirrel has been known to take down an entire fiber network when a full sized beaver probably couldn't get through a coaxial cable. A moderately sharp butter knife can sever some fiber optic cables and yet you can accidentally run a jigsaw blade into a coaxial cable in a wall and it will likely remain functional. Fiber just isn't good enough to merit replacing copper. Then there's the age-old mother of all reasons which is the repair difficulty and cost of a fiber cable break vs a copper cable break.

Elephant in the room (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613025)

Problem is that the copper network is mostly very old, so, no , it won't carry 1G from the node to the home, in many areas, and most often those remote ones, just getting voice is a problem. Even in many of the urban areas the copper network is clapped out pile of shit - and expensive to maintain now.
I suspect that without interference Telstra would have been quietly replacing it's copper network with fibre as the copper fell apart anyway.

Re:Elephant in the room (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | about 4 months ago | (#45613921)

As I recall this happened when the South Brisbane exchange was relocated a few years ago. Everyone who was on that exchange ended up with a brand new fibre to the premises connection to replace the copper.

IF I was in charge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613037)

I would have a contest where companies would be invited to compete to see who can do the best job for the most reasonable price. Each with a government team member to watch, document, and QC to make sure no shortcuts are made and the connections are good. Make it like the competition of the US Transcontinental Railroad. Make it like a reality show where companies are competing not only for future contracts but also so their companies don't look bad. Then assign the top 5 companies different cities to begin work.

Re: IF I was in charge... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613519)

I really wish this idea could come true. Where governments and corporations who promise to make improvements to society/economy/whatever, be put in public view, via competitive reality shows. Too bad it would most likely be too boring of a show to work. or not, some people will watch anything nowadays.

Oh, Boo Hoo (1)

rnturn (11092) | about 4 months ago | (#45613151)

That'll likely be far better than the service the phone company wants to provide to our neighborhood. I wonder how much the carriers will be dinging the residents for this service? (Didn't see anything about that in the article.)

FTTT: Fibre To The Telstra (3, Interesting)

JabrTheHut (640719) | about 4 months ago | (#45613215)

Telstra is the Australian telco monopoly. It's a bit like BT in the UK, but without the customer dedication, commitment to upgrades or ethics, fairness, and sense of social responsibility of its management team. The new government sacked the board of NBN Co and has stacked the new board with ex- and current Telstra insiders. It's pretty obvious that once the NBN Co has finished rolling out the fibre network, the plan is to sell it to Telstra. This will ensure a fairer outcome for all Telstra shareholders, but may be a drag on the rest of the country.

Re:FTTT: Fibre To The Telstra (2)

slapout (93640) | about 4 months ago | (#45613623)

"It's a bit like BT in the UK, but without the customer dedication, commitment to upgrades or ethics, fairness, and sense of social responsibility of its management team"

So, it's like AT&T then.

So what? 1Gig-E or 10Gig-E over Cat6a works great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613621)

What is the obsession with fiber straight to your home? Pull in 10Gig to the neighborhood over fiber, connect 50 houses with 100m (330ft) of Cat6a UTP for Gigabit speeds. For difficult or longer runs, STP Cat6a could be ran, but STP is a bit more expensive and requires a bit of grounding know-how to avoid creating ground loops.

Re:So what? 1Gig-E or 10Gig-E over Cat6a works gre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614023)

The problem with that idea is that they would have to run Cat6 cables directly to the houses and at that point, why not just go with fiber all the way. The FTTN plan as it stands will use Telstras ageing copper network for the last mile connections.

I use 950GB+ per month. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613649)

I could not survive in Australia and their evil bandwidth caps, that said, I wonder if they'll get a little more freedom after this?

Re:I use 950GB+ per month. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 months ago | (#45613955)

I have to ask, what could you possibly be downloading to consume 950GB+ a month. I use netflix Hulu, download torrents daily and play a huge amount of games and I struggle to do more than 200-250gb a month.

FTTN is political bullsh*t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45613843)

The state of the copper network in Australia is so poor that it may as well be replaced by fibre. Telstra is very secret about the level of faults but it's thought that they handle upwards of 1 million faults per year costing them over $A1 billion/year. Telstra's maintenance on the copper network has been predicated on its replacement by fibre so they haven't been doing upgrades for over a decade. In addition about 19% of all phone connections in Australia are on piggybacked pair gain lines which
can't do any form of ADSL. The whole FTTN bullsh*t is just the Liberal party responding to pressure from their owners, which include News Ltd (Rupert Murdoch).
Murdoch was seriously pissed that the ALP FTTH network would have been out his control as a government monopoly so Murdoch's cable TV company would have
to pay for bandwidth and compete with anyone else who wanted to distribute TV across the fibre network. The push back is happening in Australia - a petition on change.org got 270,000 signatures in 10 days - the politicians are starting to feel the heat from the electorate. There has been no explanation from the arrogant twat, Turnbull, who is minister of communications, where they are going to acquire the continuous 750 MWh of electricity to power the FTTN cabinets.

FTTH: 47% connected at 12Mbps in April 2013 (1)

mathew42 (2475458) | about 4 months ago | (#45614271)

The draft NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) [mynbn.info] is available to understand what Labor were building. The reality is Labor turned the abundance of fibre into a scarce resource:

"As at 30 April 2013, 26% of NBN Co’s FTTP End-Users were on the highest available wholesale speed tier (100/40 Mbps), whilst 47% were on the entry-level wholesale speed tier (12/1 Mbps). These compare with 18% and 49% respectively forecast for FY2013 in the 2012-15 Corporate Plan."

In Australia, Labor planned both quotas (1TB being the largest available from most RSPs) and speed tiers from 12/1Mbps to 1Gbps. The plan was for less than 5% to have 1Gbps speeds in 2028! This is because the high cost of data to RSPs ($20/Mbps) will make 1Gbps plans expensive.

Only a truly incompetent government could succeed in building a FTTP network where 50% of connections are slower than HFC, FTTN, 4G and approaching half of ADSL2+ connections. Sadly many in Australia were distracted by the headline speeds and failed to appreciate what was being promised.

The best suggestion I've heard yet is to simply loan Google $20 billion interest free for two decades and ask them to build a wholesale network.

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<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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