[AusNOG] Aust Govt will build National Broadband Network, no company will be awarded the tender.

Bevan Slattery Bevan.Slattery at staff.pipenetworks.com
Sun Apr 12 00:36:13 EST 2009


We have always said publicly that the first thing you need to do is fix
the backhaul problem.  Build a national backhaul network, set up
community access/exchange points in every town you go nearby.  Connect
libraries, schools and community sites.  While you are there build a
couple of big towers while you're at it.  That is phase 1 - the core and
distribution networks.  Initially let access make it's way.  The best
business case for each community should win.  Cheap backhaul means
Hutch/Voda and to an extent Optus don't blow tonnes of money on backhaul
and can deliver services more comprehensively (geographically) and
competitively in the access space using 3G. Open up spectrum, watch to
see Wimax, LTE/4G take hold.  Not in 8 years, but in 2 years.  All those
new subdivisions which are building FttH might actually have a fibre
backhaul network now rather than relying on a 6 hop unlicensed wireless
connection (no I'm not kidding).

Let competition and ingenuity in the access have a go.  Maybe the G9
might decide to get together and co-operatively rollout some DSLAM's or
even mid-span nodes?

I'll tell you a crazy idea, why don't we do a business case first?!
Let's see what consumers actually want and are prepared to pay for?  In
this era of 'sustainability' why don't we build an NBN that is proven to
be economically sustainable.  Might not be as comprehensive as the $43B
plan, but it will probably cost $41B less and derive probably about 75%
of the benefit to GDP.
> - FTTN is a crap idea (so crap that even Krudd and Conroy 
> could see it).

Well that only officially came out this week remember.  Up until then it
was the best thing ever.  The FttN was a 'fully funded, fully costed'
policy costing $8.7B in total.

> - The current Cu CAN is starting to near end of life and is 
> straining to provide broadband at the speeds they want to 
> everyone.  Even fixing this would require something looking 
> much like FTTN anyway (eg. nodes to fill in black spots etc).
> - It's only going to get more expensive to do (inflation etc).

The copper can has been at 5 minutes to midnight about 12 hours ago :)
The key changes in FttP deployments in the past few years have been in
the areas of reducing costs to deploy and in the resiliency of the fibre
technology.  They have worked very hard and are now able to push/pull
cables up existing lead-ins with copper cables, snap and/or screw
connectors (no splicing), internal cabling any idiot with a staple gun
cable install.  This is good news for FttP.  These savings far outweighs
inflation, particularly when the world is now in recession and
unemployment ramping up to heights we have not seen in many years.

> But if the government wants to do something game changing 
> then what's the real problem in doing so?

I admit that in 15 years time we would probably be glad to have built a
90% FttP network.  That could very well be about 5 years after it's
value was written down, the asset sold to either Telstra, Leighton's or
Macquarie Bank (or a combination thereof) and the tax-payers have
forgotten about the fiasco :)  The point isn't the technology or the
idea of a 'game changer' but seriously can someone at least have the
'vision' to do a business plan or a market sensitivity analysis on
whether consumers are prepared to pay whatever it is it will deliver?
Do we even know what it will actually deliver and for how much?  The
crap I had to go through to try to get US$100M in project finance during
the GFC was a nightmare  (which we ended up walking away from).   For an
'economic conservative' to commit the taxpayer to $22B (and possibly
more) purely on the basis of the taxpayer guarantee (aka Government
guaranteed bonds) without even opening up an excel spreadsheet and do
some 10,000.000,000 feet calculations in the name of nation building and
game changing is not my idea of a fully justified reason to proceed.

> Many people seem to be saying this is a bad idea and yet 
> propose no alternative which has any real consideration.

$43B Matthew.  $43B and no spreadsheet.  I can't provide an alternative
at this stage because firstly, up until Tuesday this week we were all
getting 12Mb/s+ and secondly:

I, you, nor ANYONE (including the consumer) actually knows what it is
they are getting.

Is it 100Mb/s access speeds available to everyone straight up, or will
it be tiered speeds.  What is the wholesale cost of the system?  Where
can I interconnect to it?  How do I interconnect to it?  Can I bring my
own backhaul.  Will they be carrying multicast?  How can I get my
multicast stream on the multicast broadcast (assuming there is one).
Can I get my Foxtel and/or Optus PayTV on it?  Is there an AGVC type fee
and how is that based?  Is local, CCA type things, state, national?
What is the cost to provision a circuit?  What about voice/PSTN handoff
etc..  Where is it being installed?  When will it be installed in my
area (even proposed)?

We currently have a price tag of $43B and a statement about coverage
(not even coverage areas).  I'm sorry Matthew but you are seriously
deluded if you think that's a proposal.  That's a press release.



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