Monday, 3 June 2013

NBN: Policy Ignorance by The Nationals Leader

Warren Truss, MP, appeared on ABC's Insiders yesterday and displayed an amazing ignorance of the Coalition NBN Policy and its implications. He consistently repeated their Magic Mantra "ours is Cheaper, more Affordable and Sooner" saying:
The advantage that we have in our system is that we will take our fibre to the node and as a result we will be able to deliver optic fibre cable connections to a much larger section of the community. Including to many regional areas
Only for people in the Country, the Nationals constituency, this is completely wrong... Fibre runs 40km-60km, not 300m-800m of Copper in an FTTN.

Nodes will be at least 800m from premises, which in the least populated/lowest density areas, means either very low speeds or expensive fixed wireless.
Unless he's assuming that Turnbull's Magic Plan will deem country households are "Cost Benefit" justified to get Full Fibre, presumably only if they voted for the Coalition.

Barrie Cassidy pushed Truss on the Coalition promise of 25Mbps connectivity to "every country household", asking:
How much will it cost householders to have access to that? [25Mbps broadband]
After repeatedly not getting an answer, he put to Truss that it would cost $6,000, which Truss rejected.

The Coalition won't acknowledge that their VDSL/FTTN entails significant ($500-$1500) and unavoidable out-of-pocket expenses for householders to a) get VDSL working at all and b) to have a real NBN Co NTD (Network Termination Device) installed.

Cassidy was presumably referring to an estimate of the "optional upgrade to full fibre" cost of the Coalition to overcome VDSL/FTTN speed and reliability constraints.

When you read what Telecommunications experts, not partisan Politicians pushing an agenda, write about the costs of deploying Broadband in Australia, and in Rural areas particularly, the answer is that the extended range

Prof Rod Tucker has multiple papers and presentations on the realities of Broadband, and strangely, Wireless and DSL/FTTN aren't the best or cheapest technologies.

A highly credible study by Ellershaw et al of Rural Broadband deployment costs for Wireless (WiMAX), FTTN (VDSL) and Full Fibre (PON) was published in the Telecommunications Journal of Australia in 2009, concluded that at 20Mbps, an FTTN was cheaper while at 50Mbps Full Fibre was always cheaper. The study chose 4 regional areas with different housing densities and 1 high density Metropolitan area. These telecomms experts used 300m, not 800m of the Coalition, to provide 50Mbps using VDSL. They also costs Nodes very cheaply at US$10,000 install + US$20/house in town and US$5,000 out of town. Current node cost estimates are $30,000 for upto 200 ports + $50/port for VDSL2.
Figure 13 Total cost of 50 Mbit/s broadband access
Passive optical network deployment costs are lowest for 50 Mbit/s access rate in all rural areas.

As expected, the total cost for both PON and FTTN DSL decreases as the population density increases. A comparison of the PON costs for the urban area of Burwood showed good agreement with the Verizon estimate of US$1350 per household by the year 2010 (Verizon 2006). [emphasis added]

Because a GPON can provide a dedicated 70 Mbit/s capacity to 32 households, the deployment costs of 20 Mbit/s and 50 Mbit/s are the same for PON. However, the FTTN DSL solution must use VDSL technology which is more expensive than ADSL. Since the range of VDSL is limited to 300 metres, the number of nodes required increases dramatically. Outside the rural towns, the households are often more than 300 metres apart and a VDSL node can serve only one household.

At this bit rate, WiMAX also becomes very expensive since only 16 households can be served by each base station.

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