Feeds

Australia's alternative NBN plan: some taxpayer-friendly questions

Puncturing political promises with practicalities

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Last Tuesday, Australia's coalition announced its alternative national broadband network (NBN) plan, offering fibre to the node as the dominant mode of delivery.

The plan appears comprehensive, but like any such document, it doesn't answer every conceivable question.

With an election fewer than six months away, El Reg's Sydney desk has had a lash at a few lines of questioning we think could usefully be answered as Australia's taxpayers try to consider the new plan and the government alternative. We're chasing up a few, and have left off a couple we think might make for good stories all by themselves. For now, here's what we'd like answered. Do you have questions too?

Without any further ado:

  • What percentage of Telstra's current copper is fit to serve as a connection for an FTTN network? What percentage will need to be replaced to enable FTTN? What percentage needs to be replaced each year? Does the Coalition's NBN plan include the cost of such replacement, for initial build and then maintenance?

  • What will be the criteria for replacement of degraded copper?

  • Malcolm Turnbull's presentation suggested FTTN nodes be built to enable future FTTP build. Has analysis been undertaken of the likely future cost of this overbuild, versus the cost of the current universal FTTP build?

  • Coalition policy suggests there is no domestic demand for fast internet because current applications don't need it. Does FTTN therefore create a self-fulfilling prophecy, by locking Australia into speeds that do not encourage development of applications that use more bandwidth?

  • Regarding the last question, how well do Coalition assumptions about demand for fast broadband stand up if Facebook were to introduce video chat, a comfortably-foreseeable innovation that would likely increase demand for domestic bandwidth? What if department stores offer virtual shopping combining 4K video and haptics? That's a little more pie in the sky, but the point remains it's not hard to imagine applications that would make 25Mbps look a little lame.
  • Reg hack Richard Chirgwin at the coalition's press conference to reveal its NBN policy

    Reg hack Richard Chirgwin asking some of the above questions at the coalition's NBN policy press conference
    Image: ABC News 24


  • How does the coalition propose to extract 25Mbps performance from hybrid fibre coax, when many users report it seldom achieves that speed and is unreliable?

  • How can the Coalition guarantee 2016 completion of universal 25Mbps coverage when so many variables - Telstra negotiations and local government approval for FTTN cabinets, to name just two - have not been scoped?

  • What's the price going to be for user-pays FTTP? Let's not just assume BT's prices and the exchange rate hold, please!

  • How can the coalition state with such certainty that optical fibre may be superseded and it is therefore not worth building with it? Is the coalition aware that fibre is already envisaged as the medium for terabit ethernet? If so, is the coalition aware of any other medium likely to exceed that future headroom?

We imagine you may have some questions, too. Do let us know what they are and we'll see if we can get them answered. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.