Monday, August 01, 2016

Time to Virtualise the NBN?

Sorensen and  Medina in "The End of Australia’s National Broadband Network?" (June 2016) deliver what some describe as a scathing assessment of the NBN. The Coalition Government first set out to build a copper broadband network for cities and terrestrial wireless for regional areas in 2007. Then a new ALP government canceled the contracts for the copper broadband, and also abandoned its own hybrid policy (2007), instead switching to FTTP fibre for cities. A later Coalition government then adopted the ALP's previous FTTN hybrid policy, scaling back the FTTP. This is hardly the first case in which a project is in difficulties due to political indecision.

The parts of the NBN which the politicians did not tinker with have gone well: the wireless for regional areas and satellites for remote. In my view the debate over FTTN v FTTP for homes in the city is of less importance, due to mobile broadband. It may not be worth installing fibre or copper for broadband to homes, as it is not homes where the consumer now wants the broadband, but on the mobile device in their hand.


Coalition: Australia Connected: Fast affordable broadband for all Australians, Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Media Release 80/07, 18 June 2007:

ALP: New Directions for Communications - A Broadband Future for Australia – Building a National Broadband Network, March 2007:

Sorensen,  Lucia Gamboa &   Medina, Andrew. The End of Australia’s National Broadband Network?, Tech Policy Institute, June 2016.

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