The Lexus and the Broadband NetworkThe ALP FTTP proposal is like the car salesman offering you a new Lexus: sure it is expensive but it will be fast and reliable and last a long time. The Collation's custom auto centre says your ten year old Toyota Camry (copper cable) is mechanically sound, it just needs some new parts (FTTN) and will be much cheaper. Your kids say they don't want an uncool Lexus, or an old Camry, they want a cool Italian Scooter (Wireless Internet). You tell them they will grow out of the scooter in a few years and then want a real car, to which they reply "Whatever". ;-)
ps: In my view, if the government, whoever they are, want to save money, they could prioritize fibre roll-out in greenfield sites and areas with no, or poor broadband.
We have had TFFN in Canberra for just over a decade, with the Transact system. If you have power poles handy, and the citizens don't mind more overhead wires, it is a cost effective system. Also it works okay in new buildings. My apartment building has a fibre optic node in the basement and twisted pair copper to each unit. But if you are going to the trouble of putting new cables underground, then they might as well be fiber-optic, as most of the cost is in digging the trenches.
The areas with copper phone and Pay TV cable could be left for last, where it is working okay. This would be a slight change to the current government's NBN FTTP to achieve cost savings proposed by the opposition. Installing new FTTN should only be done on a limited scale, where the copper cable is new enough to be kept, but so far from the exchange that higher broadband speeds are not possible. The FTTN should be done so it can be upgraded to FTTP later.
Hi Tom, 100% with your comment.
"they could prioritize fibre roll-out in greenfield sites and areas with no, or poor broadband."
I live in 1 year old house in a new estate and only have access to ADSL1. The newer houses at the end of the street are on the NBN, there is a huge NBN co FDH at the end of my street, yet I am looking at a 4 to 10 year wait on a 5 Mbps connection.
Where is NBN Co's logic? They have gone to all the trouble of provisioning the fibre service to the FSAM to support the greenfield address, the Access Seekers are having to pay for CVCs to support he FSAM, yet there are only 15 - 20 houses they can sell services to so they must run at a loss.
As it stands they put the infrastructure in to support the 1500-3000 homes in the FSAM, they get RSPs to pay rent on CVCs for the partial FSAM, and by the time the estate is finished, they will probably only have connected 150 homes, most of which are currently vacant blocks of land.
Another stupid thing is how they do their roll out of FTTP. You would think it would make sense to send a team to a street and run the fibre to the side of the house while they are in the area. Instead they are rolling this out like it was HFC where the home owner chooses and pays for the service, sending a team in and provisioning each premises individually.
Their roll out plan and roll out strategy is inefficient and fundamentally the wrong model.
Finally there is the simple economics, RSPs have a lot of costs to set their companies up to sell their products over the NBN. You would think NBN Co would want to support RSPs, provisioning services to the demographic areas where they will get a lot of sales and a large customer uptake so they could generate some revenue to offset their investment. Of course this isn't the case, the roll out is market agnostic so RSPs have to spend a lot of money to on-board with a shocking NPV. If Telco profits are down, the government misses out on the tax revenue so they are basically shooting themselves in the foot.
My "The Lexus and the Broadband Network" analogy was picked up by Australian Science Media Centre and is quoted in "Rural areas to lose in Coalition internet plan, says expert" (Toowoomba Chronicle, 4th September 2013). I wonder what my former tutors at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba make of this.
My "The Lexus and the Broadband Network" analogy was picked up by the Australian Science Media Centre and is quoted in:
1. NBN a shambles: Servcorp COO, IDG News Service, Sep 6, 2013: "Tom Worthington, adjunct lecturer at the Australian National University, also believes the federal government should be prioritising greenfield sites, as well as areas with poor or no broadband...."
2. Rural folk miss out with poor net, says academic, Warwick Daily News, Sep 4, 2013: "Adjunct lecturer at Australian National University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, Tom Worthington, likened the difference to buying cars. He said the Labor proposal was like buying a Lexus "expensive but it will be fast and reliable and ..."
3. Rural areas to lose in Coalition internet plan, says expert, Mackay Daily Mercury, Sep 3, 2013: "Adjunct Lecturer at Australian National University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, Tom Worthington, likened the difference to buying cars. He said the Labor proposal was like buying a Lexus "expensive but it will be fast and reliable and ..."
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