Tuesday, 27 August 2013

NBN: Turnbull spin "on-demand fibre"

Chris Griffith & Stuart Kennedy wrote a strong, factual piece in the Australian today, providing a good analysis of a Turnbull distraction, "Fibre on-demand" or "Fibre from the Node".
Rating for their article: 10/10

Turnbull has jumped on it, and naturally, refuted all claims and introduced more confabulation and misdirection. He doesn't mention the difference between "access rate", which he's selling and "sustained throughput", that customers want to buy.

Rating for Turnbull response: 1/10 [spelled his own name correctly]

Why is Turnbull so sensitive about people trying to cost his proposals?
Because for the last 5 months he's been very carefully hiding every financial detail.
He's never published any relevant detail, only blistering attacks when people try to decipher his waffle or second-guess his intents. Turnbull deliberately created this whole situation, why now rant and attack those who are doing their job and trying to clarify things for voters?

Why should Griffith and Kennedy even write this article if Turnbull has done his job well, and actually communicated his plan clearly and effectively? Why would they not just contact his office for a clarification and more detail? Because they know that, like me, they'll get an abusive, hostile reception.

So WHAT is Turnbull trying so desperately to hide?
If NBN Co offer "Fibre on-demand" to Nodes, the Plan clearly says they are not obliged to, then it just won't perform. The Turnbull Nodes are small and underpowered with dismal uplinks: that is why we have NO technical details about them. Cheap means low switching capacity.
Only businesses or high-demand users outside Turnbull's "magic zone" of 400m-500m will even consider a Fibre upgrade. However, if they think they'll get more than 50-100Mbps sustained throughput, they are dreaming. Node congestion will be extreme and throughput, latency and jitter terms the public will come to know and dread.
The problem with providing a 1Gbps Fibre interface to a Node with a single 1Gbps uplink is that an ISP cannot guarantee the advertised rate, leading to ACCC charges.

With 160 ports in a Node, and even 25% of them getting 50-100Mbps over VDSL2, the 1Gbps uplink starts with 40-fold contention. Add the other 120 users at 25Mbps as claimed by Turnbull, and you've got at least a 75:1 contention ratio on a rather thin 1Gbps uplink.

What happens when everyone comes home and want to watch TV at night? Especially if there's some large special event?  Everyone, including the fool that stumped up for a 1Gbps "fibre from the node", get the same, paltry 12-13Mbps.

This is the reality that Turnbull is trying to hide, his Copper/Node Plan will perform so badly due to congestion at the Node that people won't be happy. They'll be less happy when they try to upgrade, only to find Throughput won't change.

Unpicking Turnbull's Spin

NBN Co has not paid billions yet, it has contracted to make payments to Telstra. Some will buy the access path ("lead-in"), others are to rent access. The details are not public, not even Turnbull the Omniscient knows the detail. How can The Master of the Business Universe confuse payments made and commitments? He's either incompetent or bull-shitting...

Labor made NO claim on 19-April. NBN Co, a separate company of independent, expert and highly professional people published real figures on their costs.

Why would Turnbull claim it's "wrongheaded" to assume that the current standard of Telco business is adhered to? Customers are billed for their specific work, that's the accepted norm.
It's a simple enough business concept: each user pays for their services.

Turnbull has not said previously, nor does he say here, what conditions actually will apply to "Fibre on Demand". As Turnbull is so fond of saying "nobody can foresee the future" - which is why any Telco will charge a single customer the full cost of running a service if nobody else has ordered one.

Unless of course Telcos are charities that just give away everything, like he expects Telsra to donate him 215-250,000 kilometres of Distribution cable.

Why should the journalists have called BT Openreach when all their pricing and conditions are in full public view on the website? Do they have some special "mates rates" for Turnbull and his colleagues?

The only contradiction in either piece is Turnbulls. Griffith and Kennedy DO NOT contradict themselves on costings. They are quite clear and conservative in how they arrive at their figure.

Why won't NBN Co incur these costs in the mass roll-out of Fibre? Because they won't be doing "one-off specials", they won't be paying retail prices and they won't be making good a flawed concept.

The real answer is that NOBOBY will pay a $50,000 connection fee for "Fibre from the Node". They will, wisely, invest that money into an alternative service, such as point-to-point carriers that will spring up to full the void.

And Turnbull's final paragraph is plain bat-shit crazy...
How to avoid a $50,000 fee that nobody will ever pay for a substandard and inequitable service?
Simple, Do it Right, Do it Once, Do it with Fibre.


  1. Do you have a link to the make and model of the node that the Coalition is planning on using in their NBN?

    1. Grahame Lynch of Commsday from March. He's the most prominent apologist/advocate for Copper/Nodes.

      Notice he doesn't include the technical/cabling work nor any specs.


  2. No, Turnbull has never published any details.

    I had extensive correspondence about this, was told "as cheap as $30,000". Their budget for 160 ports is $900/port, or under $150,000 for everything, node, civil works, power, line cards, cable switch over, remediation, reconfiguration, testing, service migration: ADSL & telephony.

    Research I did turned up models with 1Gbps uplinks and 1Gbps backplane plus "extension" cabinets.


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