More fibre, please
July 1, 2013
Richard for 2011

No date for NBN connections to the heart of 2011 ... Coalition's NBN scheme already outdated ... Major infrastructure project thwarted by tiresome politicking ... Malcolm Turnbull - friend of the crumbling copper network ... Alix Piatek reports 

NBN: a late entrant to Kings Cross and Potts Point

WE haven't heard much fuss about the lack of a roll-out date for the NBN in Potts Point, Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst. 

Neighbouring Paddington also doesn't have a national broadband network start-date. 

Construction is scheduled to begin before 2015 for most other surrounding suburbs, including Surry Hills, Bellevue Hill, Darling Point, Double Bay, Edgecliff, Point Piper and Woollahra.

Why not a commencement time for the most densely populated suburb of Sydney? 

After all, the NBN is the most important national infrastructure project in more than a generation. 

In March local federal member and Opposition communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the Coalition's scaled-back, second-best NBN alternative. 

He claims his fibre to the node, rather than fibre to the office or home, will save $17 billion and three years in roll-out time. 

Labor's full-fibre high-speed internet connection is scheduled to be completed in 2021 - Australia-wide.  

The Coalition's figure on the financial and time savings contain quite a bit of "rubber". 

Instead of connecting fibre directly to all Australian homes, the Liberals propose optic fibre to nodes in the street, which would then be connected to premises using the existing copper wire network.

Completion times would be marginally quicker and costs lower, but the Turnbull scheme offers internet speeds at half the rate of the full fibre-optic connection.

Labor is offering 100 megabytes a second, Turnbull promises only 50 mbps.

If Labor is defeated at the next election only 22 percent of Australian homes will be connected to the 100 mbps network - mostly in new housing areas.

Turnbull & Abbott: doing their second best at the Liberal Party's NBN policy launch, held at FoxSports studios

Turnbull says that users who want faster speeds can pay for fibre to extend all the way to their premises.

That would cost fibre-all-the-way enthusiasts (FTTH) an extra $2,000 to $5,000 on top of the usual internet connection fees. 

What's the bet that this is the option that the Member for Wentworth will implement at his residence in Wunulla Road, Point Piper? 

Debate about the merits of each plan will be a hot topic for the election. 

At the 2010 election the Coalition, in an act of distressing Luddism, promised to scrap the NBN altogether. 

The NBN turned out to be politically popular and so the Liberals later changed gear, but stubbonly refused to adopt Labor's FTTH plan. 

Turnbull argues that it is unwise to invest $37 billion to meet the demands of the future, yet admits fibre-to-the-premise is good technology, where it isn't too expensive to implement.

The former Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, said that buying back the existing network from Telstra is the "dumbest policy idea" he has ever heard.

Mark Quigley, NBN chief executive, has indicated that using Australia’s copper wire network would create substantial costs because of the need to repair and upgrade the existing infrastructure, most of which is decaying at a rapid rate.

Turnbull doesn't deny that much of the copper will have to be replaced.

He hopes new technologies are around the corner and something better than high-speed fibre may be discovered in the future. 

The NBN has been strenuously opposed by the Murdoch interests largely because, under the government's plan, it will upset the subscription TV model dominated by Foxtel and FoxSports.

The Liberal policy has been sculptured to accommodate those vested interests.

In 2012, the State of the Internet report found that Australia’s average internet speeds fell 23 percent. 

See news report 

Australia is now ranked 41 out of 98 nations for the speed of online connections.

Japan is already offering 200 megabytes per second, which means with either Labor's or the Coalition's plans, upgrades will be needed in the near future.

The NBN rollout map

Compare the details 




$37.4 billion to build

$20.4 billion to build

Completed by 2021

Completed by 2019

Will deliver a speed of 100mbps (megabytes per second)

Will deliver a speed of 25 mbps by 2016 and 50 mbps by 2019

100mbps will be accessed by 93% of Australian homes

Only 22% of Australian homes will access a speed of 100mbps

NBN Co would become the fixed-line communication provider in Australia, replacing Telstra and Optus

Telstra’s cable network, built to deliver Foxtel, would continue to offer broadband services

May become privately owned, after five years and a vote by both houses of Parliament

More than likely to become private


Article originally appeared on Local news from postcode 2011 (
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