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back to article ENTIRE NBN BOARD offers to walk the plank: report

The chair of NBN Co, Siobhan McKenna, has tendered her resignation to the new communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with those of the organisation's entire board, according to Fairfax Media. In this report, the Sydney Morning Herald notes that the move would open the door for Turnbull to appoint former Telstra CEO and …

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IT Angle

No Confidence either way

"although El Reg notes that a board that didn't have confidence in the incoming government might have taken the same action"

This is exactly right. I don't think they had a choice, given the comments of the minister and the fact that the decision on CEO was not, apparently, any of their concern.

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Does this mean the 2017 install target is bunk?

I am sooooooo surprised. Not.

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Meh, if Turnbull has his way, we'll be all pushed onto 4G wireless, resulting in networks so congested you'll be pining for that 300 baud acoustic coupler you threw out a few decades ago.

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All of the installation targets for the full FTTH deployment have been a fantasy.

The board had a huge deficit of construction experience for the biggest building project we have seen since the Snowy scheme.

The weekend Fin Review detailed well the stuff ups in managing contractors & labour force. The revolving door for head of construction had much to do with an inept CEO.

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"The weekend Fin Review detailed well the stuff ups in managing contractors & labour force."

Is that the same Fin Review that is the bastion of unbiased journalism regarding all things NBN?

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Unhappy

"pining for that 300 baud acoustic coupler you threw out"

I knew I was holding on to that box of 56k modems for something!

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wtf

how about a paragraph of background as to what the hell this article is talking about?

Perhaps interest is limited to people in .au ?

I read through it twice and can't understand why anyone would care.

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Re: wtf

Welcome to the Anglosphere Nate.

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Re: wtf

Nate,

Follow the link to "more reading" on the left.

Richard and Simon have done an excellent job of covering NBN issues - there's plenty of background reading there if you wish.

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Re: wtf

The previous australian labor government started a project to upgrade australia's network infrastructure from copper to fibre to 93% of homes (satillite and wireless to do towns 500 people or less not next to a main backhaul line).

the new coalition governement spent the last 3 years berrating the project the board and all thing labor. and won the election, there now going to spend 30billion dollars on upgrading australia from pair gain and ADSL2 to VDSL instead of fibre which was pegged at 47.5 billion dollars in capital investment. (for sanity's sake I'm using the numbers each party said it would cost.)

Now the new governements in, the Board who's current boss (malcolm turnbull) spent the last 3 years ragging on them in the media suddenly want no part of it anymore (big surprise there)

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Mushroom

Not shocked

If I were in the NBN board's shoes, I would do the same thing.

The new boss wants to implement a substandard project and add a billion dollars onto it for no good reason.

After just 10 years the project will be an abject failure because FTTN / Wireless was a looser idea from the get go.

The LNP's model is built with keeping the existing Foxtel / Telstra / Newscorp happy at the expense of the Australian internet user.

So they are taking a stand and saying "You think you can do it better ? Then you are welcome to try, F**kwit. "

This whole election has been a farce (except without the "being funny" part), that has been handed to us by the old, white racist baby boomer demographic.

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Re: Not shocked

"...handed to us by the old, white racist baby boomer demographic

Using bigotry to attack bigotry. I'm surprised you didn't overdose on irony.

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Re: Not shocked

Not really being a bigot.

Old people primarily voted for the LNP, on the basis of a "Turn the boats around, to keep the brown people out" campaign.

The NBN is just collateral damage as far as that voting block goes, because old people have no idea how to use the internet and generally don't see any problems with the speed they have now.

It means they have time to make a cup of tea, and lunch while they wait for their email to load.

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Mushroom

Re: Not shocked

First, a little history:

The Howard Government had contracted a project to deliver broadband speeds to Australian communities that were too far off the main communications lines to get good Internet speeds. This is for places it would have cost tens of thousands to connect to each home. It was (from memory) around $4.5B and well targetted to those recipients that really needed it.

To win the 2007 election K.Rudd promised super high speed for every home, whether they wanted it or not. This was only going to cost a few billion more than the Howard Government was already committed to. When he won, he bought his way out of the existing contracts and started to build the biggest monopoly supplier in Australian history. We are now in 2007 and already over $40B, with hardly any fibre in the ground (compared to the amount that is still needed). Estimates put the final cost over $70B, but I think they're still too optimistic.

So the Abbot Government wantsto reduce the cost without abandonning the entire project. A simple way to do that is to deliver fiber to the node (FTTN) instead of fiber to the home (FTTH). It uses the existing copper for the last few hundred metres instead of replacing it with fibre. This will save tens of billions, provide high speed to everybody, while still allowing those very few people that want 100MB and are willing to pay for it to upgrade to FTTH. There is a big debate about the merits of FTTH over FTTN in the media, I think most of it was funded by the outgoing Government. Despite claims to the contrary, the copper network is still in good condition - it is what makes your home phone work after all.

Only a fool that wasn't paying for it would refuse to see the need to use those tens of billions for something useful, such as hospitals, roads, educating cyclists to follow the road rules, etc. On the other hand, we have the current Board seriously compromised by their public commitment to FTTN.

So for somebody to say "The new boss wants to implement a substandard project and add a billion dollars onto it for no good reason", isn't just pretending ignorance of what the Government is actually doing, they are lying about what is important to the people of Austalia.

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Re: Not shocked

"Only a fool that wasn't paying for it would refuse to see the need to use those tens of billions for something useful, such as hospitals, roads, educating cyclists to follow the road rules, etc. "

The entire NBN is OFF BUDGET. The "savings" *can't* be used for "hospitals, roads, etc" because that funding comes out of the budget. The FTTH plan worked because at the end of the project, you had an entire network to sell off for profit/keep to return revenue to the government and despite the investment, it would return more than what was put into it.

Keep in mind the coalition plan requires the use of an existing copper network *that the government no longer owns* - never in history has any country ever tried to roll out a FTTN network using *someone else's* privately owned copper that the government needs to acquire.

Also, FWIW, the "$40 billion, with hardly any fibre in the ground" is a fallacy, and anyone with any idea would know it - most of the spend so far has been backhaul and planning, both of which had to occur, and are being used by the coalition's plan.

The coalition were brought to power on the promise of faster rollout and cheaper rollout - with the entire board resigning, and new contracts having to be renegotiated (not to mention the need to get Telstra's copper) that's looking further and further from reality.

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Re: Not shocked

The copper notwork is not in any way in good working order its well over due for replacement.

It is almost impossible to find a knowledgeable IT person in Australia who deos not support having a world class FTTH network.

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Re: Not shocked

How can you say the copper network isn't in good working order? Doesn't your telephone work anymore? Has your ADSL stopped working? No and No. This was a furphy raised by the FTTH proponents to force everybody onto the most expensive option.

I'm a knowledgeable IT person, but I'm looking at the horrible cost of backfitting fibre into every home where there is already perfectly good copper which will work up to 24MB from the DSL modem in the node. Look at the take-up stats. Most people are perfectly happy with 24MB. If you really want 100MB, then pay for it yourself.

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FAIL

Re: Not shocked

" *someone else's* privately owned copper that the government needs to acquire" ? The Government doesn't need to acquire the copper. All it needs is to pass data over it. The exact same way all the ISPs get access to run ADSL to your and my homes.

Please stop thinking the Government needs to own this infrastructure to make things happen. Government actually works better when it doesn't. That way it can set laws and regulations to govern the activities of the ISPs and back-end data bearers. Remember the mess we had when Telecom ran the phones? High prices, no connecting modems to the phone lines, etc. Only when the Government sold it off and created some real competition, did anything improve.

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Anonymous Coward

Rupert will save us all !!

I'm sure the old NBN will be on-sold to the likes of Murdoch.

He can then stifle net speeds to protect his aging old-world business model.

The new Government is a stooge for Newscorp Inc

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Re: Rupert will save us all !!

Remember the filtering debacle the Labor government tried to foist on us. Their version would probably require we submit to their filtering because they own it. Remember it was "to protect the children"

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FAIL

NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

The draft NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) has leaked: http://mynbn.info/assets/draftcorpplan-2013.pdf

In addition to evidence that the roll out is further behind than we were previously told, there are gems like this:

"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."

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. Labor were wanting us to pay for a network that was going to be under utilised.

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Re: NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall back in the days when ADSL was being rolled out.

I'm sure some of these arguments would have been used then.

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Re: NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

When ADSL was rolled out belatedly by Telstra, they put speed limits on plans to protect FoxTel and higher speed business services. Many people in Australia were hampered by slow connections, but not enough that they could justify the cost of faster speeds. This only changed when Internode installed their own DSLAMs and removed the speed tiers.

The problem is that Labor promoted many great things one could do with FTTP, but they required connections faster than 100Mbps.

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Re: NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

The speed tiers are a matter of choice, Every FTTP connection will do 100/40, the reports is stating that 26%, of connected premises have chosen to pay for the highest tier connections. while 50% have chosen the lowest speed, and everyone else chose something in the middle.

" Labor were wanting us to pay for a network that was going to be under utilised." Why on earth would you set out to build a network over a 10 year period that is destined to be over subscribed? your gripe makes absolutely no sense.

ADSL2+ has a maximum theroatical speed of 24mbps, the countries average is closer to 6mbps, only those next door to the exchange get anything near 20mbps, And it still limits your upload to 1mbps, which is critical for voip and 2 way video, file uploading.

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Re: NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

Not really. the ADSL upgrade was completed at the exchange by upgrading the infrastructure inside, the copper in the ground wasnt touched. the roll out of ADSL would have been much cheaper and was up to telstra and other ISP's to upgrade there own equipment.

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Re: NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft leaked

2 way video, Voip, large file uploads, video streaming are all doable from a 100/40mbps link.

FTTP plan was being upgrade to 1gbps before they were kicked out. (by changing the lasers at each end.)

The same fibre can commercially hit 10gbps now, but the lasers cost a fair chunk more and its not required.

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Speed tiers mean NBN isn't about speed.

You can do 2 way video from a 256Kbps connection. It is just that the quality isn't HD.

> FTTP plan was being upgrade to 1gbps before they were kicked out. (by changing the lasers at each end.)

The network was only upgraded in response to a perceived need by the Government not to be slower than Google Fibre as confirmed by Quigley.

NBNCo's Corporate Plan reveals that Labor planned for less than 5% to have 1Gbps in 2028. At such small numbers fibre on demand is a reasonable alternative.

> The same fibre can commercially hit 10gbps now, but the lasers cost a fair chunk more and its not required.

It is not just a matter of changing the NTUs. The GPON would also need to be upgraded. Currently the GPONs being installed max out at 2.5Gbps.

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