The NBN: Why It’s Slow, Expensive And Obsolete

After coming to power in the 2013 Federal Election, the Coalition government promised to deliver a national broadband network that would be faster, cheaper and more quickly deployed than Labor's scuttled fibre-to-the-premises plan. Two years ago, what have we got? Regardless of where your politics lie, the answer is far from pretty.

Snail picture from Shutterstock

The Abbott Coalition government came to power two years ago this week with a promise to change Labor's fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with the three-word slogan: "Fast. Affordable. Sooner."

But with the release in August of the 2016 NBN corporate plan and in the light of overseas developments, it is clear that the Coalition's broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor's FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out.

With the benefits of two years' hindsight since 2013, let's look at the Coalition's performance against each of the three assertions in their 2013 slogan.

Affordable

The graph (below) shows funding estimates for the NBN from December 2010 to August 2015. Labor's funding estimates for its FTTP NBN rose from A$40.9 billion in December 2010 to A$44.9 billion in September 2013, an increase of 10%. By comparison, the Coalition's funding estimates, both for FTTP and the so-called multi-technology mix (MTM), have fluctuated wildly.

Labor and Coalition peak funding estimates from December 2010 to August 2015. *December 2013 data adjusted to account for different contingency. (Graph: Rod Tucker)

The estimated funding required for the Coalition's NBN has almost doubled from A$28.5 billion before the 2013 election to between A$46 billion and A$56 billion in August. Before the 2013 election, the Coalition claimed that its proposed multi-technology-mix network would cost less than one-third (30%) of Labor's FTTP-based NBN.

But in new estimates released in the 2016 corporate plan, the cost of the multi-technology mix favoured by the Coalition blew out and rose to two-thirds (66%) of the cost of a FTTP-based network.

Also, the cost of repairing and maintaining Telstra's ageing copper network was likely underestimated, as was the cost of retraining and maintaining a workforce with the wider range of skills needed to install and maintain the multi-technology-mix network – costs that are unique to the MTM.

In the space of two years, the lower-cost deal the Coalition spruiked to Australian voters has turned out to be not so affordable after all.

Sooner

The Coalition probably underestimated the predictably lengthy delays in re-negotiating the agreement with Telstra as well as delays in re-designing the network the new IT systems needed to manage a more complicated network with multiple technologies.

The graph (below) shows the actual and planned number of premises passed (or in today's parlance – ready for service) for the original FTTP network and the Coalition's network.

Premises ready for service, plans and actual, as published by Labor and the Coalition. (Graph: Rod Tucker)

The Coalition's original target was to bring at least 25 Mbps to all 13 million Australian premises by 2016. That target has now been quietly dropped and replaced with a target of more than 50 Mbps to 90% of premises by 2020.

At the end of July 2015, almost two years after the 2013 election, only 67 premises had been served by multi-technology-mix technologies. In the meantime, as shown (in the graph above), the roll-out of FTTP has continued, albeit at a lower rate than Labor originally intended.

This lower roll-out rate has led to fewer connected customers and lower revenue. It will be interesting to see if the newly released targets for premises ready for service will be achieved (blue broken line in the graph above).

Labor certainly had its problems when it was in charge. For example, slow negotiations with Telstra and asbestos in Telstra's infrastructure caused delays of around one year. The funding requirements for Labor's FTTP network crept up by about 10% from 2010 to 2013.

But the delays and cost blowouts have been very much worse under the Coalition than under Labor.

Fast

Australia's broadband capabilities are falling behind its international peers. According to internet companies Ookla and Akami, Australia's broadband speed lags well behind other advanced and even emerging economies.

In 2009, Ookla ranked Australia's average broadband download speed as 39th in the world. Since then, our international ranking has steadily declined and slipped to 59th place earlier this year.

What's worse, my studies of trends in internet speed in Australia and in a range of developed and developing countries show that FTTN technology – a key part of the Coalition's MTM – will not be enough to meet the needs of Australian broadband customers.

In short, FTTN technology will cement Australia's place as an internet backwater. Our world ranking could fall as low as 100th by 2020.

In many forward-looking nations, fibre-to-the-node technology has never been entertained as an option. In some countries where it has been installed, network operators are planning to move away from FTTN in favour of more advanced broadband technologies like FTTP. In doing the opposite, Australia is moving backwards.

If FTTN magically appeared on our doorsteps by 2016, as originally promised by the Coalition, there would certainly be a short-term advantage. But the 2016 target has been missed and the FTTN component of the network will be obsolete by the time the roll-out is completed.

Of course, there is no point in speed just for speed's sake. Studies in Europe and the United States have shown a strong correlation between GDP growth and internet speed.

In the US and elsewhere, increasing numbers of homes and businesses are receiving services at 1 Gbps and higher. A recent study presents evidence that communities served by 1 Gbps and more are faring better economically than communities with slow-speed broadband.

If in 2013 the Coalition had simply allowed NBN Co to get on with the job of rolling out its fibre-to-the-premises NBN, rather than changing it to an inferior multi-technology mix, it may well have ended up spending less money and delivered Australia a much better network.

The Coalition sold the Australian public a product that was supposed to be fast, one-third the cost and arrive sooner than what Labor was offering us. Instead the Coalition's NBN will be so slow that it is obsolete by the time it's in place, it will cost about the same as Labor's fibre-to-the-premises NBN, and it won't arrive on our doorsteps much sooner.

By my reckoning, we didn't get a good deal.

Rod Tucker, Laureate Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

WATCH MORE: Gaming News


Comments

    At the risk of angering some of the more political types, it's very easy to compare the plan with the 'what if' scenario of a Labor-implemented NBN. The reality is that the implementation of it would likely have had cost blow-outs and delays as well.

      well it actually did have delays and i think a blow out as well, but then it was under the control of mr pants on heads, mind you every man his dog who knows anything about the internet knew that FTTN was stupid idea and everyone also rightly scoffed at the idea that the LNP would be able to make a better deal with telstra.

        Do you know the difference between FTTN and FTTP? The cables in the ground between the N and the P. Making that upgrade at some point is a cheap and easy option.

          Do you know the diffrence between fixed wirless and fiber... Yeah a cheep and easy from witless to fiber my a$$ we where scheduled on the map to get fiber. Then it got changed to fixed wirless which we are now using and get this. It's slower than the adsl 2 we just came from.

            Wait, your wireless is slower than your ADSL2? That's thoroughly unsurprising dude.

            Thanks for your input, however my comment has no relation to fixed wireless or adsl2.

            Hey mate, just in regards to your fixed wireless performance issue:

            You can get fixed wireless at either 12 or 25 mbps, so yes, hypothetically you can get fixed wireless slower then DSL. That being said, it's completely optional. Fixed wireless uses 4G tech, and its capable of 100mbps. They limit it to 25 at the moment.

            If you're paying for a speed you're not getting, it's either a fault (NTD, aerial, internal network) or you have a shit ISP not paying for enough bandwidth. It's not the technology.

            Source: I work at an ISP, sure as hell not saying which one haha

          Not the only difference. There's the "N" itself. And maintenance on said "N", as well as maintenance on N->P, which is an order of magnitude higher than maintenance on fibre alone. Not to mention troubleshooting problems on a more complex system caused by the introduction of a pesky "N".

          Making an upgrade in the future will definitely be easier, but it won't be cheap. It's always more cost effective to move completely to a new technology, rather than try to do it piecemeal.

            Got a source for those maintenance cost comparisons? Most Ns need minimal maintenance, only when new expansions are being installed.

            I can see a lot of situations where loopbacks and tests on a N would be more beneficial to troubleshooting than a P system. When a fibre breaks, you can't tell where it broke, just the nearest piece of equipment, such as the N. Much better for diagnosis than a repeater which can transmit and amplify bad signals.

            Cost effective is a situational specific term. We can generalize about it being better one way or the other, but without intimate knowledge of the government's analysis, these are all just vague opinions as opposed to facts.

            For a specific example, Making a hybrid 2G/3G network was smarter cheaper and easier for telecom companies rather than making solely 3G or waiting and jumping straight to 4G.

              The govt have specifically not released estimates for maintenance on a FTTN network, so can't really compare. In fact, they've pointedly avoided doing so.
              http://www.minister.communications.gov.au/faqs#faq_2_3

              It's reasonable to assume the maintenance costs in an FFTN system would not be reduced very much from straight copper. You still have the copper maintenance, and then the added fibre maintenance.

              For a straight copper network, it was around 1 billion per year. The following article estimates a FTTP network could be maintained for around $200m-300m.
              http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/433877/fttp_could_save_700m_year_maintenance/

              Not only that, but FTTN will be double the cost in power usage, compared to FTTP.
              http://whrl.pl/Rde6Ym

              Good point about troubleshooting issues when links are smaller. That could balance out the added complexity of the node, when diagnosing an issue.

              You're really going to try and convince me that Copper -> FTTN -> FTTP is as or more cost effective than Copper -> FTTP? I tip my hat to your sophistry.

              Last edited 09/09/15 5:44 pm

                Yes, the govt has not released the figures. So all this discussion is hypothetical. Without solid evidence pertaining specifically to the network, all we can do is discuss hypothetically. However you appear to be making ironclad claims of incontrovertible truths. I'm not so arrogant as to do so.

                You have found some estimates that really don't take into account actual network maintenance. For example, your BIS Shrapnel 'expert' thinks the fibre of a FTTP network will be less susceptible to water damage. Putting aside the fact that this company gets paid to produce these reports, plenty of the existing fibre pits are not properly waterproofed and fill up with water every time it rains and being fibre, the impact is significantly larger. Go look on whirlpool for evidence.

                Your 1 billion estimate is based on a full copper network. The insanely massive reduction in copper from the FTTN network... you just kind of ignore?

                You're really going to try and convince me

                Actually, I'll tip my hat to you if you actually read exactly what i said relating to cost:

                Cost effective is a situational specific term. We can generalize about it being better one way or the other, but without intimate knowledge of the government's analysis, these are all just vague opinions as opposed to facts.

                  Yes, yes, I read your paragraph on cost effectiveness. Yes, I am arrogant to claim that FFTP is more cost effective than FTTN. I am also very likely correct. There is no way in hell that moving to FTTN, and then to FTTP, will ever be more cost effective than just moving to FTTP in the first place. Sure, it'll be faster to move to FTTN, and will at least bring some marginal improvement to the current situation, but it'll cost more in the long run. I am without doubt about that.

                  Nope, I'm not ignoring the removal of the copper to the node. I already mentioned that it would be replaced with fibre maintenance. And then to top it off, you have to train your engineers with multiple technologies. Complex situations breed cost.

                  I looked up whirlpool about the impact of water on fibre. Sorry, everything I've read indicates that the fibre cable works fine in the presence of water.
                  http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1610823
                  http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1969051
                  http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1538857

                  @deek

                  Cost effective if you have that money sitting aside not earning interest. This isn't the same cost effectiveness as purchasing a gfx card for you gaming rig. We are talking about a national infrastructure program with insane associated costs. So as I have said continually, we don't have the data to make a clear assertion on that.

                  NBN engineers would not be trained on copper. That would fall on Telstra to maintain. This is why loopback tests are used, to identify fault locations and determine liability.

                  Unfortunately, you misread my post again. The pits fill with water. The pits contain junctions and maybe repeaters. These are susceptible to water damage.

                  Your first Whirlpool post specifies in the third post that survival is dependent on the quality of jointing in the pit. NBN's overpriced subpar subcontractors would not be good at this work. Also, this post from 2011 would not be talking about NBN installations.

                  Your second whirlpool post specifically details issues when water gets into the pit. There are further posts detailing the exact issues that fibre gets from water ingress. Thank you for supporting my point with this evidence?

                  Your third whirlpool post deals with longterm degradation, not relevant here, and specifically mentions water ingress as the biggest problem. Thanks again for that support.

                  Yes, the cost is large. Yes, we don't know all associated costs. We can still draw some general conclusions based on design. It is quite obvious that Copper -> FTTP is the least cost solution. FTTN is lower cost for the near term. Copper -> FTTN -> FTTP is the route of greatest cost.

                  Telstra are handing over the whole network to the NBN. The NBN will be responsible for everything, copper included. So yes, NBN engineers will need to be trained in copper maintenance.

                  The first whirlpool thread mentions that optical fibre is well suited to survive being submerged. Oh, and thanks for assuming that all NBN subcontractors are sub-par.

                  The second whirlpool thread also says that fibre will work fine when submerged under water, even if water gets into the joints.

                  The third whirlpool thread mentions that the main problem with water is that minute amounts get through the shielding, build up, then freezing, thus degrading the cable. Otherwise, it mentions that fibre cable is designed to be resistant to water.

                  I don't know ... you're not convincing me on your point. I'm open to the idea that water does affect fibre as badly as copper, but you need to give me some decent references.

                  @deek

                  Sorry, you're still not grasping it. Total sum of FTTN/FTTP isn't the only equation required to work out the total costs of each.

                  NBN is live, however Telstra still own the copper, right? So... when eventually the handover does happen, any maintenance will be performed by the Telstra subcontractors who now are employed by NBN. No relevant change there. Actually, when you say enhineer, are you referring to maintenance or network development or fault finding?

                  Basically I have friends in the NBN who tell me about the subbies. For any evidence, I'd direct you to whirlpool again. Shoddy installs abound.

                  First thread specifically says that "we would hope any jointing done below ground would be done well enough to stop the ingress of debris."

                  Second thread specifically says "The problem is when the cable or joints are not waterproof like they are supposed to be." The cable might be fine, but the connectors, splitters, repeaters and any joints that aren't flush will be affected by water. A piece of dust on the end of a cable will affect the line. Thats why every patch kit comes with alcohol wipes to be used every time the cable end is exposed to air. Which relies on every technician using them every time they do anything. Which simply doesn't happen.

                  The third thread is more related to the underground trunk fibre which is specced with multiple armour and coatings to prevent any water ingress.... why do you think they want to avoid water ingress........ if it has no impact...........

                  Anyway, this is getting OT. Too many variables and unknown qualifiers to make blanket statements. In the end, we simply differ in opinion and will have to wait and see.

              Always a pleasure to see somebody offer no evidence whatsoever when giving their own opinion, then immediately request it from others who have differing opinions.

                Opinions don't require evidence? Claiming an opinion as fact does.

                No greater pleasure than the easy dismissal of a Guest doing a snipe and run. If you have an opinion, just use your account and lets discuss it openly.

          The words 'cheap' and 'easy' do not compute when it comes to governments and infrastructure.

          It's like building a road. You have a big startup cost that has to be replicated.

          You do realize that in an FTTN system the N, or node (for those who can actually be bothered to write words), can be miles away from the P (premises). It is, and always will be, more cost-effective just to go for FTTP.

        So essentially, at some point they'll go back and redo the entire network, linking the node to the premises, maybe. That's double the work, far more money into the budget for it and really, really not futureproofing it.

        It's amazing how many people got pissy about Labors plans, as if it were going to bankrupt the country. A little money spent at that point on a proper FTTP system would've alleviated the need for further work down the road beyond general maintenance and futureproofed the country to a degree. But instead, we get a network no better than f***ing cable.

      This article depresses me. Why must we be so backwards?

      I agree that Labor implemented NBN probably would've seen similar delays and cost blowouts, but at least it was promising FTTP.

        No matter who implemented it, Labor or Liberal, it was always going to be a shitstorm. They don't understand the value of fast internet, all they see is a big cost.

      Although I agree, why is it that we hold our politicians to such a low standard?

      If you need a new power circuit installed in your home (because, for argument's sake, you're about to buy a bigger stove) and while you're at it you consider upgrading a couple of the other circuits to a high amperage. Electrician A gives you a quote and an estimate on when they can start work and how long it'll take. Electrician B gives also gives you a quote, which is cheaper but convinces you not to upgrade the other circuits - they'll start work at the same time as Electrician A and the job will be quicker. The work ends up taking twice as long as what Electrician B estimated, and ends up costing twice as much, but all your mates just say "yeah, but that probably would've happened with Electrician A as well". Who would accept that?

        You're not wrong. I think that there is a culture in Australian construction work (including telcos, roads etc) reflected in a certain lack of urgency of getting the job done and for passing the buck in relation to time-wasting. If you look at the cost blow-outs I wouldn't be surprised to find that the majority of cost increase related to labour costs, with a knock-on effect in materials, which generally go up in price over time. Who is to blame for a job taking longer than estimated? I don't know, but I don't think it's the politicians. They would be relying on professionals giving estimates. Unfortunately for the politicians, they are ultimately held responsible by the public.

          The problem is that an inferior upgrade was chosen in the first place, and even if the original FTTP did end up blowing its budget out a bit it would have been a more viable long term solution either way. The way it stands this FTTN system will have to be upgraded sooner rather than later anyway which will probably end up costing much more than FTTP would have in the first place, blow out or no blow out.

            Yeah I don't think there's any doubt that FTTP would have been an objectively 'better' network. The delays remove one of the only 'advantages' that FTTN had. The question of affordability is separate and is really a question of 'what areas do you cut back on in order to have the better NBN option?' I don't think there is one right answer to that. It's more like saying what priority do you give internet data speeds over say social welfare, healthcare, defence spending etc.

              we could probably save more than enough cash for the full and proper NBN is cut back on certain radio frequencies which would then be sent via the awesome new FTTP network

          It would help if NBN Co actually paid on time too... Hanging companies out to dry for 90-120 day payments pushes the risk away from them and onto the construction companies. Cash flow is king and no money flow means no work done until what is done is paid for.

            Lol, wow! I had no idea it was that bad. I guess that at its heart NBN Co is just another construction company. Here was I thinking that it would be held to a higher standard but I should have known better.

              A lot of the bigger builders do the same due to clients not paying on time.... It's not for the builder to finance the job.

      The reality is that the implementation of it would likely have had cost blow-outs and delays as well.

      That is what irks me the most. Both sides should just work up the nerve and just tell us (1) what the true cost is and (2) what the hell is the hold up.

      As it stands, their silence is only confirming that they are using it as a bargaining chip in marginal seats to get votes.

        That's why I curse the fact I live in a "safe" electorate. They don't even have a scheduled start date for my area yet.

        The only potential positive of that is that by the time they get around to us, they might have seen the light and gone back to FTTP.

        I think that the roll-out was used as a vote-buying mechanic only in terms of prioritising marginal seats, but I don't think that the overall time estimate was dishonest. It's more likely that the industry professionals advising politicians fell into the trap of giving a lower estimate in order to get the job. Once the job has started it's too expensive to change jockeys, who know this. I think the politicians are no different from the home renovators who get dudded by shonky builders and left in the lurch for months on end while simultaneously facing 'unexpected cost increases'.

          Political parties are not home renovators they get exactly the advice they want. So long as they can defend their proposal until after the next election. They knew it was inferior but drummed up enough crystal-ball benefits so they could oppose FTTP. There was no way an Abbott coalition would support a Labor-anything let alone such a possible keystone moment in Australian infrastructure.

          Last edited 09/09/15 8:12 pm

          Have actually heard from a number of people involved in the industry that this is 1000 times exactly what happened.

        Because nobody bloody knows :/ Both sides have botched it. Pick a tech, get the spec, get the shit built. Oh it cost a bit more, it's an investment in the future damnit!

      On the other hand, there was a FTTP trial (which actually finished during the Coalition's term) which demonstrated a much, much faster & cheaper FTTP rollout than was originally being achieved. I don't recall the details, but it was a real thing.

      On the OTHER other hand:
      "Studies in Europe and the United States have shown a strong correlation between GDP growth and internet speed."
      Somebody has to say: correlation is not causation. The correlation here may be because countries with a higher GDP can afford a better network, or both could be due to a common factor (such as a better technology and skill base).

        Correlation is one of the best concepts ever. It's the linguistic equivalent of tilting your head at someone, winking and then tapping the side of your nose.

      I've still not had a single persona of article tell me in real terms why, commercially, we need to be in the top 10 of internet speeds in the world? What benefit does it make....really? Apart from being able to stream 4K TV? MY place of business streams meetings around the world all the time with little to no disruption....this is before the NBN roll out?

      Seriously? These articles make me think you're all a bunch of whinging gen Y IT dreamers with little basis in reality. "But, they have it faster than us....we need it too".

      Yes and most "advanced" countries are so caught up in their consumerism and forced 'growth' that many things are purchased and/or built that aren't really required.

      I'm gen Y, and I'd like fast internet too, but we need to be realistic about this.

        Exactly. It would be nice to have, obviously, but in terms of juggling budgetary requirements for other areas, we need to decide how much we 'need' it. I really have no idea, myself.

        Better broadband speeds and better penetration of good quality broadband is associated with economic growth. In an analysis of speeds in OECD countries Rohman and Bohlin (2012) calculated extra GDP growth of 0.3% associated with a doubling of internet speed. Likewise analysing OECD countries, Czernich et al (2011) calculate that every 10% increase in broadband penetration is associated with 0.9-1.5% extra GDP growth. Those are enormous numbers.

        FTTN may deliver better speeds but nowhere near the capability of FTTP. And many of FTTP's strengths lie beyond headline download speed, such as high upload speeds, the ability for consumers to acquire services from multiple vendors at once, and easy portability of services. Then you have the drawbacks of FTTN to consider, including power and maintenance costs on the nodes, elimination of competition at the DSLAM level, contention between node users (particularly bad given the under-provision of bandwidth to each node in the current design) and so on.

        Quick piece of advice, admitting you don't know something then proceeding to attack a straw man instead isn't great form.

        This article itself mentions correlations between economic growth and internet speed, @spanner has also replied in this vein.

        This may get randy so a quick tl;dr

        Countries with better technology are more competitive economically.

        You mention examples of consumer level demand that exceeds the system, can you seriously not imagine some business enterprises need that or more?

        Sure you can have compressed video calls on your business network. Have you ever tried sharing larger content? I've had to show a colleague something and needed 45 minutes to upload it before.

        Most content creation businesses can find needs for those speeds in today's world, let alone 5 years from now.

        What about businesses that don't even exist yet? Some of the worlds largest companies exist purely because of the Internet, Facebook, Google... whole fields that didn't exist in my parents day.

        And of course an Aussie business could be the next invention, but if our technology industries die due to being uncompetitive because of pure infrastructure?

        Sorry if I got too ranty, your argument always just ends up sounding to me like "I rarely drive over 70km/h I don't see why we should invest all this money in having fancy freeways so a few people can get to the shops faster!"

        The reason we need to be near the top is , at the very least, to remain competitive with overseas companies. Upload speeds in particular are a problem when a competitor can deliver the final files back to a client in an hour, and it takes us over 30 hours. This becomes a serious issue with massive files, where a competitor can upload in 4 hours (for example, daily rushes), the same files would take us 120 hours, i.e. 5 days @ 24hours a day, which puts us out of contention.
        That is all *now*, who knows how much bigger requirements will be in ten years time.

      Actually (and I am being very honest) towards the end of Labors term in power the rollout got so efficient with rollout and under control that it was getting cheaper to the point it was on par with what the Liberal "promise" that Malcolm Turnbull would of been a legend to keep it going as was and play the hero card - he knows this. Unfortuantly agreements were made with three men from the likes of his days at Ozemail and Telstra connections he could not back peddle with these people who had a stake in the copper line FTTN model. Damn shame.

    Very interesting Article shed a lot of light on the whole NBN thing but yea Fibre to the exchange seems pointless to me it has to be to the door you can only push so much down the copper even if its only from your house to the exchange.

      Pretty sure all exchanges already have fibre to them. Do you mean the node?

    Anyone who couldn't see this was going to happen back in 2013 when the Liberals were elected is extremely short sighted. I remember when I first heard about Liberal's NBN plan...I actually literally laughed because it was that absurd.

    Yet the majority of voters don't understand the internet, it's benefits and why we need faster speeds so it was only ever a minor consideration. Which leads us to where we are today.

    Even if Labor's NBN would have cost more and rolled out later it'd be worth it for the speeds we'd get. Instead we'll now have a significantly delayed, slow network that has cost way too many billions and is obsolete when we're able to access it. Will have to spend many more billions to upgrade the network afterwards. Absolutely ridiculous.

      +1.
      I groan every time thinking about what might have been heading our way.

      At the same time, at least FTTN is an improvement on what we currently have. All I wish for is something, anything, to happen where I live. And happen soon. A reliable 25/5 connection would be heaven. Even a reliable 12/1 connection would be pretty nifty.

        "We" is a bit of an overstatement there. I have 30/1 where I am, can upgrade to 100/2 if I want to fork out the cash for it...NBN hasn't been installed in my area.

        That's the other part of this that's a joke. They quote slower speeds than what is currently available.

          Oh yeah, cable! Don't know why I keep on forgetting about it. You're right. If you can get it, then it offers speeds faster than FTTN. Shame it's a shared medium, and a fault on one part of the cable affects everyone on that cable segment. Still, it is a very good alternative.

            Yeah, in my area it's the only reasonable choice as my phone line connection goes to a rim system rather than the exchange and can get max speeds of ADSL, not ADSL 2+.

            Luckily the cable is in good order and must not be used by too many others as I always get max speed for what I pay.

    I don't really care what internet i get as long as its better than my woeful 6mbs “adsl2” that im currently getting. Sick to death of buying new games for my xbox one, just to play them 2 days later and spending half my time in netflix watching a buffering screen.

      Welcome to the future. Mixed Technologies! Bwahahaha!!!

      Like Bob the Builder said to me once; "Do it once and do it properly."
      Hence why we should have FTTP. I'm pretty sure it was Bob the Builder, but I was a bit drunk at that party, it might have been my other mate Rod the Sparky, he was there too.

      6mpbs? AHAHAHAHA try 3 mpbs 'adsl2' screw our backward country with an ape for a PM. :(

        You know you got it bad when your phone is 10 times faster than your landlone connection

      Your 6mbps 10 years ago would've seemed like a godsend in the days of DSL1. Seriously. With 50k as the max download speed back then, 600k down would have been amazing...

      So, in 10 years time, 24mbps when codec quality increases, video quality enhances even more, file sizes increase (as they do regularly, just look at games, a sudden jump from 8gb on average to approximately 40-50) that 100mbps will be the equivalent of what DSL2 is now. For example, try streaming 4k over a dsl2 connection at max speed, incredibly annoying to do. However, with fibreoptic? A breeze.

      Last edited 26/11/15 11:34 am

    Love when I go to Japan and have access to amazing internet. It actually feels surreal.
    Flicking through pages quicker than i could physically a news paper.

    Last edited 09/09/15 1:41 pm

      Japan's population density is also might higher than ours. Ours is smaller and more spread out so more cable length has to be laid out.

        Sadly true, but that has always made me wonder why we don't invest in amazing wireless tech for home internet...

      Do you hold your hands up like a Sith Lord yelling "POWER!!!!" ?

      Coz, I'm pretty sure I would if I had that sort of internet. I would also give my friends some internet. Here you go, have some internet.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on here that has NBN. I had it at my old place last year and I sorta just expected to have it where I am now when I moved in. (I do indeed have it here).

    I've gotta say if I do move somewhere that doesn't have it I'm going to be in for a rough time after having a 100mbps connection for the past couple of years.

      What are your upload speeds like on that?

        They usually hover around 35mbps. Upload speeds are generally a lot more consistent than my download speeds.

      My sister has an NBN connection. Apparently it was offline for about a month recently. And since then, Exetel have hit her with some big bandwidth charges on days when she wasn't home.

      We think the issue is with the Wifi password in the shipped router, but Exetel's position is that it's her fault.

      She doesn't care too much about the speed, but the reliability has been pretty bad. On the other hand, this is in country NSW, not exactly a high-priority area for Telstra maintenance-wise.

        I had some issues when I was first switched over (the NBN co tech didn't terminate the fibre correctly) but since then have had zero issues.

      Yeah I don't know how I'd live without my NBN now. They wasted a bunch of money and it will be outdated quicker than other tech but hey right now it's pretty damn fast for me. Also switching to NBN resulted in MUCH better speeds, more GB per month and the price was cheaper.

        Not having to pay for friggen line rental and all the phone stuff is the best.

          Don't use the phone and I had naked dsl before but yeah it's pretty good.

    Used both. Prefer NBN speeds. 2GB file, 5 minutes tops. Same file on ADSL1 where I am now. 2 hours and that's if I'm lucky.

    Voted to keep Labor in power purely for a better NBN vision compared to the Libs. And what do we get, that grinning moron now running the country putting use even further into the past rather than moving forward!

    I'm currently enjoying a maximum download speed in Melbourne's CBD of 270kbs. At this rate a pair of tin cans with string in between would offer a improvement.

    I was one of the lucky ones that managed to get the old FTTP network, now besides the increased download speed (which is great), the real difference has been in the uploads.

    I used to constantly have files corrupted and ruined as they failed to upload correctly on the ADSL2+ connection I used to have (if it rained, no internet either), now these were not large files either, typically 1-2 mb office documents. After getting the NBN, not a single issue.

    I know upload bandwidth was not such an issue in the past, but with people uploading everything about their life as well as their work becoming increasingly online, I can't help but think it is a major factor now and into the future. Something that the MTM just cannot deliver.

      But who in a real business setting needs to 'upload' files? Can't they just have their secretary send it to the courier boy, right after she's done fetching the cigars?

    As a young guy who's grown up with the internet and knowing of its benefits and limitations, it truly pains me to see how inept our country is when it comes to tech. Will probably move abroad when I can, frankly. So over the condemnation of games from our ratings board, too.

      It's probably unfair to say "our country" is poor when it comes to tech. Australia, as a country, is actually really good with tech. World leaders when the politicians get out of the way, and on the rare occasions when venture capitalists show a bit of vision.

      The primary problem is with the politicians who are making the decisions. Since they're being selected from people trained mainly as lawyers or union representatives, and chosen on the basis of a popularity contest, it's not really surprising that there's a lack of informed leadership in technological issues.

        I don't think our politicians are a fair representation of our population either, how many people who have an issue in this country try to get involved with their representatives in some way to fix the issue? A large number of Australians are happy to just complain about things without putting in action, think it's the laid back culture.

    Slow, expensive and obsolete. Not unlike those who purport to run this country.

    But on the other hand Mark, how many Telstra mates (including those who co-own a boat with Malcolm Turnbull) have benefited from being given cushty jobs they have no experience in after their predecessors were sacked for having no experience, and backhanders?

    Not everyone's a loser in this, just the millions of average Australians sitting at home who would actually benefit from a World class network that we're no longer getting

      Plenty of stories out there about small, net-based companies that can't operate properly in Australia so they have to move to Singapore or somewhere else in order to service their customers properly. It's an age we are living in, and we are missing out.

      I'm in the opinion that Abbott believes the internet is only used for downloading movies and playing games.

    Not defending the current governments stupid NBN, but they never said it was faster. They in fact said Labors NBN was faster. Their plan was meant to be cheaper. As for the NBN not government has had a good track record of building big projects. Labor or Liberal if it's military equipment eg Colins class submarine or the Hobart class Destroyer. The Snow Mountain Hydro governments get bogged down in crap that a private contractor doesn't.

      Not defending the current governments stupid NBN, but they never said it was faster.
      Wasn't that in relation to how fast they could install the network, not the actual speed of it.

        Well we were told that their FTTN was quicker as it was using existing copper from thr house to a box that housed all the optic fibre. Which woulf be out of date in 10 years, having to upgrade sooner than FTTH.

    Everyone already knew this was going to happen when Coalition win the election. Everyone was against it because we already know that the cost of fixing the copper + doing fibre to the node will cost more since Australia coppers are in a very bad condition, the cost would have been more than doing FTTH but they hide the fact that the condition of the copper and just sold to the public that speed is not important when everyone use it for skype.

    That dumb decision has already slowed up Australia's progress by at least 10 years. Say thanks for Abbott and shame on those who voted for him.

      There were other reasons why they voted for the coalition other than the NBN. Yes it is now poop, but there were bigger issues at the time. I think the whole musical Prime Ministers gave people the poops.

    You only need 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up. Anything more is a bit overkill for the foreseeable future.

      Said by someone who has never had to upload HD footage by a deadline.

        Which is most people... Just because you're special doesn't mean everyone needs 100/100Mbps.

        Last edited 10/09/15 1:03 am

          Just because you're special

          haha oh man

          You just said nobody needs more, that it's overkill.

          I gave a single, not that uncommon example that proves your statement wrong. You'd be shocked how many people work in content creation and all will need to upload and download at better speeds than we get.

          There's plenty of business uses that need more, not to mention consumer level use which can also easily use more than that if you take a family of four all with moderate usage.

            I would expect the percentage of people that need to upload HD video to the internet in Australia would be easily less then 10% and that is being very generous.

      Yes but if we are able to spend x now and future proof for say 30+ years is better than doing it all over again in 10.

      Man, if only there was some evidence in history to support this position, like say... "No one will ever need more than 64K."

      Oh. Whoops.

        I said foreseeable future didn't I??? Explain to me, what, in the foreseeable future is going to require more then 25Mbps down.

          I have a real NBN connection (i.e. FTTP) for home usage. I tried 25/5. I also tried a 100/40 connection and eventually settled on 50/20 as a balance between speed and cost as it gives noticeably better performance than 25/5 for numerous uses.

          As far as I'm concerned, anyone who says "you don't need more than 25/5" either doesn't know what they're talking about, or are trying to push a particular agenda.

          No one *needs* more than an integrated graphics chip, right? But it makes one hell of a huge difference when you get something better.

          It may not be a overwhelming and vital need above something like making sure homeless people have shelter, but if Australia seriously wants to compete in the world market online - the Government needs to invest in decent Internet infrastructure. Choosing to roll out FTTN/MTM instead of doing it properly and implementing FTTP was a short-sighted and smear-campaign driven decision, and ultimately Australia will suffer as a result. End of story.

      "You only need X amount" - As stated by an idiot with no experience in IT or Networking

        I said FORSEEABLE FUTURE. The AVERAGE internet users largest and most intensive download is streaming 4K video, that isn't going to change in the foreseeable future and the costs of hosting something like 8k content is so cost prohibitive I doubt any company e.g. Netflix would host 8k within the next 10 years or more. STOP attacking everyone on the internet to make yourself feel good.

          You've been given examples that prove you're wrong for now, the foreseeable future would expect requirements to increase not decrease.

      And if you want to run services? Servers? you know the things that bring in $$$ to this countries e-economy!?!

      And what if I want to youtube stream or upload something of over 1080p (I do all things at 4k)? Nope?

      PS. 5mbit isn't suitable for 1080p streaming, I don't even know if 720p can cut it with that bandwidth limit without lots of stuttering.

      Last edited 10/09/15 9:20 am

    It's all about building for the future and the Liberal party failed to understand that

      Yes I agree but like always Labor fails to understand how to pay for things. Turnbull or Bishop will be PM after they boot Abbott once they lose the Canning election on the 19th. Then watch FTTN die a quite death. Turnbull didn't make his fortune on poor investments.

        Turnbull as a politician is quite rational, he should never have stepped down

          He didn't step down. He lost a spill on his leadership to Abbott by one vote. It was over Turnbull supporting Rudd on an ETS

    It took me 12 hours to download The Phantom Pain. My friend in the Netherlands had it in 30 minutes or less. I freaking want that. I've grown up with exceptionally slow speeds. In my area the internet was really bad (300kb/s) but it's been improved to about 1000kb/s now so it's... okay?

    I'd love to be able to download things at a freaking acceptable speed. Then I can be like those people who don't have to heavily consider if they wanna try out that multi-gigabyte big F2P game that just came out.

    Vote Liberal, get monkeys. I sure didn't put them in office!

    I find it funny how everyone is quite happy to bag on the LNP now, but a large majority were dumb enough to vote for them. I'd like to say it serves you right that you have to put up with slow internet and being spied on by your government, but I'm suffering it too.

    FTTN failed in the UK (they had to update to FTTP afterwards).

    Its all about doing it right the first time and not deviating, in order to save cost in the LONG RUN. Something this current government has no clue about... Hope people are happy with their voted for 'Captain Epic Fuck Up Coalition Admiral'.

    Last edited 10/09/15 9:18 am

    I'll be 55 years old by the time it arrives Inner West Sydney 20 years from now (unless I go to a new apartment build that somehow get it and pay $1500 quarterly strata) no matter if the ALP/LNP are in government. So I don't give a rats arse.

    NBN Co is a shonk based of a budget ham fistedly put together on the back of a beer coaster for votes then hand balled to the next government who doesn't care about it.

    Last edited 10/09/15 4:34 pm

    Slow, Expensive and Obsolete describes my current ADSL plan. With no plans to bring the NBN to my street, I have no choice. I'd give anything to have a faster, cheaper, more advanced NBN internet experience. I guess I'll have to make sure that I look into that next time I move house.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now