Feeds

Malcolm Turnbull throws a bone to FTTP boosters

Mal the Builder expresses a certain fondness for fibre in TV interview

High performance access to file storage

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has today given an interview to TV show Meet the Press in which he appears to have softened his line on fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The transcript of the interview can be found here and the most interesting bit is the following exchange between Turnbull and Channel Ten's Hugh Riminton:

RIMINTON: So just to be clear, sorry – if someone has not met your construction definition that you’ve just given, does that mean that they will not get the NBN under the Labor plan of fibre to the premises? It won’t happen.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, that’s what we’re assessing, Hugh. We’ve got a strategic review underway. In all of these fixed-line areas, people will get access to the NBN. It may not necessarily be with fibre to the premises. In fact, for most of the brownfield areas, it’s unlikely that it would be. I would like to build as much fibre to the premises as we could, but we’ve got to get the cost down.

Those are our italics on the last sentence, because we believe they represent a shift for Turnbull, who has often suggested fibre-to-the-node is somewhere between comparable or equivalent (FTTN) to FTTP because it meets current needs and has a likely future upgrade path that means it will eventually match speeds attainable under FTTP.

The answer we've recorded above came after Turnbull picked apart some NBN Co jargon to explain that some areas where the company said FTTP connections were under construction actually did not even have detailed designs completed. That fallacy, not a cancellation of FTTP builds, was behind a change in NBN Co deployment maps last week that many took as an indication areas that had been promised FTTP would now receive FTTN.

What then to make of the “I would like to build as much fibre to the premises as we could” comment?

Vulture South sees four interpretations for the remark.

The first is that it's a live interview throwaway, an inelegant turn of phrase unworthy of being over-interpreted or taken out of context.

A second is that Turnbull would like to salvage as much extant work as possible, so that in areas where FTTP planning is advanced that rollout continues, subject to price.

The third is that Turnbull has expressed admiration for FTTP.

Number four: the comment is a bone thrown at those campaigning for the retention of FTTP.

Let's give each possibility a little further inspection by offering up what Turnbull said next:

“See, the problem with the project as it’s – as Labor framed it – they massively underestimated the cost, the complexity, and the time it would take to complete. So what we’re doing now with the strategic review is getting a handle on where the project is at the moment, how much and how long – how much it would cost and how long it would take to complete it, on the old specifications, and then what we can do to deliver it sooner, cheaper, and more affordably.”

Your correspondent thinks we can discount the first interpretation: Turnbull's looking for a cost-effective rollout plan and feels it might be possible that FTTP survives his review.

We believe our second interpretation holds, but feel free to differ.

Our third? We feel the interview shows that if Turnbull's strategic review shows the old plan can be made to work, with a reduction in price, he may find FTTP doable.

Whether the review will find it is possible to deliver FTTP on Turnbull's reduced budget is unlikely, because the minister goes on to rehash his observations about contractor Visionstream behaving, in his eyes, unreasonably as it seeks a better rate of pay for NBN work in Tasmania.

Throw in the construction industry's expectations of higher costs and we can't see FTTP remaining in the mix for many NBN connections, even if Turnbull may just have expressed some grudging admiration for it. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.