back to article Coalition's NBN plan: where's the cost of the copper?

Australia's opposition parties this week released their plan for broadband infrastructure. Many people have taken to the document with an eye to the Coalition's alleged $AUD90 billion-plus figure for the cost of the current National Broadband Network, but few have asked about the accuracy of the coalition plan's assumptions. …


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  1. FlatEarther

    It's just flannel

    You make the mistake of thinking this is a real plan with proper costings. It's an issue that requires a diversion, so Malcolm and Tony issue a press release.

    The real plan was in Joe's wallet.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: It's just flannel


      OVER THERE!!

      Boat People !!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    the Coalition's operational expenditure forecast is incomplete incompetent.

  3. splatman

    It's not an NBN!

    The COALition's "plan" should not be graced with the label NBN. I call it NNN - National Narrowband Network. By the time it is complete 25Mb/s will be considered narrow band.

    Published statistics show that bandwidth usage world wide is increasing 50% per annum. The norm in South Korea now is 100Mb/s. The NNN will deliver 25Mb/s at best, expandable to maybe 50Mb/s with new technology. It cannot go beyond that except for the very lucky few because our copper network, on which the NNN is based, is old and corroded. Have you ever had a crackly phone call on an old land line?

    The NBN (Labor) will start at 100Mb/s. The fibre will be ultimately capable of 10, maybe even 100 times that, with improved electronics developed in the next decade or 2. Consider this: Copper started at 300bps (0.0003Mb/s) in the 60's. When I started working in datacomms in 1976, the state of the art was 9600bps (.0096Mb/s). When the Internet became popular we all had 14400bps dial up modems. Then 28,800, then 56000. Then came DSL, a whopping 1Mb/s. Then aDSL at up to 20Mb/s, all using the old copper wires owned by Telstra. Note the "up to". That means under ideal conditions; perfect copper, very close to the telephone exchange etc etc.

    Copper may have one or two more incremental improvements left in it. Smart people have increased its speed 80,000-fold in 50 years, but there is a limit, and we are just about there.

    This is what Abbot and Turnbull would condemn future generations to.

    Fibre, on the other hand, is at the developmental equivalent of the 300bps stage of copper, maybe 9600bps. 100Mb/s through a fibre is a miniscule fraction of its ultimate capacity. It is all limited by the electronics, the lasers and the detectors either end. They are going to improve out of sight over the lifetimes of the next 2 generations of Australians.

    The COALition's proposal is today's technology for tomorrow.

    1. BlackKnight(markb)

      Re: It's not an NBN!

      In the Lab, fibre been pushed to 100Tbits through 1 fibre core.

      Darpa put the call out for someone to come up with a way to get wireless to 100gbps for the military.

      and the coalition have decided on twisted pair copper as there "Solution"......

  4. Richard Freeman

    More coalition waste in the name of saving money?

    Their plan does not even seem to include the cost of paying Telstra to take over the Copper Network.

    FTTN was one of the plans originally considered by NBN but Telstra wanted way too much to allow them to take over the Copper and Legal advice indicated that they would need to Pay Telstra way more than it was worth to resume the Copper Network

    This looks like a typical coalition disaster in the making.

    It is not like the Coalition have a reliable track record of saving money -

    Remember the Seasprite Debacle? $1 Billion spent and no flying helicopters at the end of it?

    $300 million on the Joint strike fighter and how many of them do we have so far?

  5. BlackKnight(markb)

    The Coalitions Plan also assumes Telstra hands over the copper for free (LOL). there 5 year time frame comes after the last 2 years of NBN building under labor completing build tests and getting the majority of the transit network in place. then there's the requirement for powered cabinets on every street instead of passive nodes.

    FTTN was viable in 2001 when telstra first looked at it, when the copper had life left in it. They got nerfed by the liberal government of the day then. going back to FTTN is a stupid, expensive and poorly thought out move designed purely to reduce the initial cost and time of the build but will in no way reduce the total cost of investment unless the vast majority of houses invest $5k each.

  6. Neoc

    Remember this?

    Turnbull *loves* FTTH... so long as it isn't in Australia and proposed by Labour:

  7. Pkd

    Total costs to Australia

    What would the total cost to of the project be if you included a "reasonable" percentage of consumers paying a "reasonable" amount to get optic fibre rather than keeping copper?

    I have heard the figure of $5000 per house quoted, I'm just not sure how many households there are.

    This is the total cost of the project to the economy.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What exactly is the PSTN cost for

    Is the PSTN amount quoted from the Telstra's 2012 Annual Report only for the maintenance of the last mile of copper? Or is it for the entire PSTN infrastructure? (ie: Exchange equipment, connectivity between exchanges, DSLAM's, etc.) it seems to me that these wouldn't need to be included under the liberal's plan.

  9. mikeinnc

    The actual costs are insignificant. The whole plan is a huge deception; a giant scam to convince voters that the LNP will 'do something' about 'broadband'. As a communications policy, it is a complete dud. A non-starter. There are so many holes in the plan that blind freddy could drive a truck through it. The only conclusion is that Turnbull is - again - lying through his teeth. If the LNP gain power, they will immediately find myriad excuses why the continuation of any sort of Government plan for a communications upgrade is not possible (and, no doubt, most of them will involve horror stories about the 'unbelievable levels of hidden debt left behind.....'). NBN Co will be sold at fire-sale prices to Telstra, who will do the bare minimum in those areas where there is the greatest profitability. The Australian consumer will be stuffed for a couple of generations - and Turnbull will walk off into the sunset, clutching his brown paper bag full of used banknotes, courtesy of Telstra, completely disillusioned with the Abbot antics but confident in the knowledge that his shares in France Telecom are doing very nicely, thank you.....

  10. splatman
    Thumb Down

    A sly move!

    Q: How come the COALition released their National Narrowband Network so early in the election campaign?

    A: Because they know it is a crock, they know a majority of voters will see it for the con it is, and they know the dust will have settled and other issues will be at the fore long before election day.

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