Telstra to build NBN with FTTN & VDSL2

Broadband Internet speeds of 25-50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 65-75% of households, and 12-20Mbps to the remaining 25-35% that cover 80-90 percent of the population. These are figures that can be achieved by Telstra for a national broadband network VDSL2 Fibre to the Curb ‘upgrade’ (FTTC, also known as Fibre to the Node). After following the progression of the NBN saga closely, it’s an extremely possible scenario that could be well on the money and have a very fast turn-around time to boot. 

VDSL2 research and testing has not only commenced, but has been well underway for quite sometime now by Australia’s largest telecommunications provider ‘Telstra’. The incumbent has been playing their cards very close to their chest and has been unwilling to reveal it’s blueprint for Australia’s new $4.7 billion dollar (or should I say $10 billion?) high speed broadband network. If they were to win, the odds are very short that their preferred choice of broadband delivery method would in fact be VDSL2. This type of telecommunication technology could easily support simultaneous triple play services such as high speed broadband, voip/telephony & digital TV (or IPTV) products at the minimum government required broadband speed of 12Mbps.

Although Telstra submitted a ‘non compliant’ NBN proposal, this is not to say that the telco cannot stitch up a ‘backdoor’ deal with the government that will take advantage of VDSL2 technology for a proposed NBN. You see, it’s no secret that Telstra has been considering VDSL2 as it’s primary architecture for a NBN. There are plenty of facts’, quotes, and articles floating around the Internet to suggest that Telstra are in the box seat when it comes to A – Being the most logical and experienced bidder to take on and build a broadband network of this magnitude; and B – Use VDSL2 technology (Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line) which provides faster speeds over similar distances using copper lines than that of ADSL2+. VDSL2 is essentially an upgrade that will supersede ADSL2+ DSLAMs in telephone exchanges across Australia. Whether DSLAMs will remain for other ISPs to use (if this were to be the case) is another story.

For example, an article appearing on New Zealand based Stuff.co.nz just recently, and of course Telstra’s non compliant 12 page NBN proposal, is reporting that a Telstra constructed national broadband network would use VDSL2 technology and be built by 4000 workers using Alcatel- Lucent materials and equipment. It makes perfect sense that the facilitation in regards to accessing and upgrading exchanges with the required new equipment to be governed by Telstra, after all who else knows an Australian exchange better than Telstra themselves? With this in mind, along with the threat of countless court room litigation cases if Telstra were not to win the NBN, a VDSL2 roll out would be performed much much more faster by Telstra than any other party.

Kevin Rudd, Stephen Conroy, their NBN panel and the Australian Government have an enormous and convoluted task with the whole NBN dilemma as it now stands. Not only do the need to ‘tick off’ pre-election promises, however they also need to consider the possible backlash from Telstra shareholders if Telstra were to lose out on the NBN; endless courtroom litigation waged against the government by Telstra (again, if it were to lose); regulatory guidelines such as operational or structural separation placed upon Telstra (if it were to win) and the consequences of such if adequate competition guidelines aren’t included; implications from the likes of Optus, Terria and other constituents (if they were to lose), but most importantly and above all other implications – whats best for the Australian people and Australia’s future!

One thing is certain though, no matter which way the decision goes…. it’s time for Kev and Steve to stand up and get their hands dirty. Telstra for the win in my opinion.

The network would use VDSL2 technology to provide download speeds of 25-50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 65-75 percent of households it reached and speeds of 12-20Mbps to the remainder. Telstra could start building the network next year, but gave no completion date.


** Updated ** Telstra ‘Booted’ from NBN Process – Tuesday 16th December 2008

As at 15th December 2008, Telstra has been officially ‘rejected’ from the $4.7 billion NBN process by the Australian Federal Government. Sighting a technicality in Telstra’s Broadband Network proposal, Communication’s Minister ‘Senator Conroy’, in a recommendation passed on by the expert panel, stated that Telstra had been rejected on the grounds that it failed to submit a mandatory element of the proposal surrounding a small to medium business plan. 

Sol Trujillo and Telstra appeared to be walking a tight rope right from the NBN inset by submitting a non-compliant bid which entailed a 12 page document only, whilst competing entities were believed to have submitted comprehensive proposals that incorprated 1,000+ detailed pages.

Calling Telstra’s Bluff, the Australian Government has now sent out a loud and clear message by dumping Telstra. This action has essentially displayed a show of strength which indicates the NBN process will not be compromised by parties seeking to hold the Government at ransom.

Telstra’s motives may have been driven by the shareholders best interests, or so they keep saying, however on the flip side it could also be clearly interpreted as an arrogant and somewhat ignorant mistake that has grossly underestimated the Government’s integrity and could cost them dearly. Of course the Telco has their shareholders to consider, but breaking the rules is breaking the rules and above all and foremost, the Government has the entire population of Australia to consider, and has acted accordingly.

As an initial result, Telstra now sees it shares plummeting to their lowest point since entering the ASX in 1997. They also have to explain their actions to their shareholders which has already seen billions of dollars wiped from share pricing. The Government meanwhile, without Telstra on board, have a NBN selection process that will now be perceived as a ‘fair’ and ‘equal’ platform that will offer an ‘open access’ environment which will encourage competition; provide innovation and growth potential through regulatory guidelines; and a future broadband network that should benefit both consumer and business alike.

So what now for Telstra?

The wounded incumbent will now have to consider contingencies as a result of being ‘dumped’. Some say they will try and re-enter the NBN process and negotiate with the Government. The problem here is that it could be too late, and that other bidders will see this approach as a ‘breach’ of guidelines and ‘unfair’.  Either way, litigation could be imminent in a race with such a high purse.

To even contemplate Telstra laying down without a fight is absurd. If they decide not to pursue legal proceedings, they may in fact build their own network as an alternative, or should I say ‘upgrade’ their existing network. Telstra have got the finance, firepower and experience to scale up their network so that it’s faster and made available way way before any future new national broadband network is built. One mustn’t forget all their ongoing technology research and testing that they continuously conduct. Using Wireless technology and as close as early next year, Telstra can roll out robust high speed broadband that can reach 21Mbps for rural areas, and between 50-100Mbps with VDSL2 and Hybrid Fibre Cable technology in maor metropolitan regions. Funnily enough, the latter of these broadband speeds will easily surpass the 12Mbps minimum requirement set by the Government on the NBN process too.

Don’t worry about Telstra folks, they are far from out of the race, regardless of what you, me or anyone else thinks.

Breaking News: YOU’RE OUT! Telstra rejected from NBN Process

VDSL2 Broadband Technology – A FTTN Potential

Very high speed digital subscriber line, otherwise known as VDSL2, has been touted as the broadband technology type that will be used by the winning tender for the new national broadband network.

VDSL2 is capable of broadband speeds in excess of 100Mbps and similar to it’s predecessor ADSL, will drop off over short distances. One exciting prospect of VDSL2 is the symmetrical rate that it offers which would make it highly sort after by peer-to-peer enthusiasts and the business sector alike.

With some ISPs either currently marketing VDSL2 as their next upcoming broadband product to be released, or conducting extensive research and testing, VDSL2 appears to be in the box seat as the technology type to be used for the upcoming NBN….. but by whom?

Read more about VDSL2 Broadband at Wikipedia

Optus G9 seek ‘Fair Go’ for NBN

In a recent speech on the upcoming National Broadband Network by OPTUS CEO Paul O’Sullivan, he stated that his overall message could be summed up in one phrase ‘Australia cannot take Competition in Broadband for granted’. In colloquial terminology using a famous Aussie expression it sounds more like he’s asking for a ‘Fair Go’ due to the current (and past) state of the Australian Broadband Industry and the Policy Guidelines behind the NBN process.  

Mr O’Sullivan also referred to the National Broadband Network as ‘Open Heart Surgery’ and touched on subjects that inlcuded The OPEL Decision, Structural Separation and gave an insight into the Broadband Market and the struggle that many ISP’s have against Telstra’s monopoly of the industry due to regulatory inadequacies.

Telstra has used its market power, over two thirds market share in residential fixed voice, to keep prices high – whilst pocketing the savings from the lower wholesale prices we have been forced to give it.

But recent developments are giving us increasing concern that the fine words of opposition are being lost under the heavy burden of Government and in the face of a seductive though anticompetitive pitch from Telstra.

If the new national broadband network is a repeat of Telstra controlling bottleneck infrastructure it will be a comprehensive policy failure – and Australian consumers will literally pay for this mistake.

we stand ready to provide a compelling proposal which will dramatically improve Australia’s broadband services. But we can only do this if we are given a fair and reasonable chance to put in a serious and compelling bid.


Read the entire speech article at news.com.au

Telstra’s FTTN bid safe as houses

The federal government has finally announced the release of the ‘Request for Proposals’ (RFP) to build the new high speed National Broadband Network. Up to $4.7 billion has been granted by the government to the successful bidder to build a network which must deliver broadband speeds of 12Mbit to at least 98% of Australian premises.

Analysts are predicting that Telstra will win the bidding proposal due to the ease it would have of rolling out (of should I say updating) a network. Considering the amount of infrastructure that it already owns, along with their extensive knowledge of the networks already in place, it appears that Telstra’s chances of winning the National Broadband Network project to be extremely high. Strengthening this theory is the numerous handicaps that Telstra’s competitors will face.

Lodgements for proposals close on July 25.

On obstacles facing Telstra’s competitors…
“In using network information, proponents acknowledge that they do so at their own risk and acknowledge that neither the Commonwealth nor carriers who have provided the Network Information bear any liability in relation to their use of the data.”

Then there is simply the limited time they have to access, digest the information and incorporate it in their plans: they will gain access to the information in May and June and the closing date for response to the RFP is 25 July.

Pro’s for Telstra…
In contrast, not only does Telstra have total access to this information in ways that should be well integrated with its other information systems, it is intimately familiar with it and, as it has repeatedly boasted, has already done all the planning and could start rolling out the network at the drop of a hat.

Government invites National Broadband Network proposals: Media Release
National Broadband Network Request for submissions on regulatory issues: Media Release
Read more at itwire.com

Internode’s Simon Hackett on Broadband 2008

Simon Hackett, who is the Managing Director of ISP ‘Internode’, has gone on record with a very interesting outlook for Broadband in 2008. Simon is somewhat of a figurehead for Broadband enthusiasts and those frustrated by the amazingly high cost of such at the local Broadband Forum hangouts.

In a recent article, Simon has boldly stated that it may be the end of the road for Telstra chief ‘Sol Tujillo’, says the Government’s Fibre-to-the-Node project will not be realized before the year is out, along with suggesting that regular Australians aren’t fussed by not having lightning fast high speed Broadband, it’s the high expense that they have to pay for Broadband that buoy their annoyances.

Although Simon may have an ‘underdog’ type attitude that’s admired by many, it’s worth pointing out that he is a businessman also, so he must keep the best interests of Internode as a priority. In saying that though, his latest comments could be that of a frustrated Managing Director of a smaller ISP, but then again, they’re probably no different from your average current Australian Broadband consumer. At the end of the day they’re both fed up of the constrictions placed upon them by Telstra’s Anti Competitive nature and exorbitant pricing along with the Government’s bureaucracy and failure to act on the current stagnant state of Broadband and it’s regulatory conditions in this country.

“By this time next year fibre-to-the-node will not have happened and it’s my hope that the Government may realise that how to do FTTN is the wrong question and whether to do it at all is the right one.

“The problem isn’t faster internet, it’s actually more available low-cost internet, because more than half the people in Australia don’t use the full speed they could buy now because it costs too much.

“I get the sense that Sol may have got about as far as he can get with things here and he may want to head off and do new and more exciting things,”

Read the entire article at AustralianIT.com.au

FTTN ‘contemplation’ almost over?

One way or another, the time of deliberation and contemplating a new Australian FTTN network is almost over. Days have turned into months, political parties have changed office, and months will soon turn into years unless something is done shortly. We are still yet to see any real advancement toward obtaining a network tender, and although we’re not expecting a final decision to be made anytime soon, it’s appearing that something may give way shortly.

More importantly, is the need for major change and solutions to problems that indirectly affect a new network before it’s even built.  These issues could appear in the form of endless litigation threats, anti competitive tactics & poor regulatory arbitration that bog down courtrooms, drive prices sky high and hinder the path of progress.

Stephen Conroy and the Rudd government have a potential major issue on their hands other than the huge costs and development behind producing a new national Broadband network. They have an issue facing them that could severely hamper the blueprint for a prosperous future in Australia’s Communications & Technology industry, and this resides with who wins the tender rights to build the new network.

If it’s not Telstra, then be prepared for all hell to break loose, especially if the government hasn’t taken appropriate measures to keep the lion on it’s leash. A new national Broadband network may be closer than we know? Then again who knows, we might see agenda for structural separation appear before we witness a new Australian Broadband Network?

He should then sit down, brew a pot of peppermint tea and redraw his policy objectives to give himself, and all Australians, the best chance of success. Something bold and radical needs to be done in the telecoms sector.

Telstra has the best information and its rivals want it released so they can compete fairly for the Government’s money. Conroy needs to rule on this.

Some have suggested the issue is so important the Government should seize control of pricing and access in order to break the nexus of the arbitrate-debate-litigate model that has not got the industry very far for 10 years.

Read the whole ‘FTTN decision can’t be rushed’ article at AustralianIT.com.au

Expert Task Force Guidelines Flawed

The Government’s expert task force for the new proposed Australian high speed Broadband network, which will seemingly use Fibre-to-the-Node technology, has released Guidelines for the tender process. But as ‘Stuart Corner’ from ITWire writes, a dozen or so definitions and objectives within the proposal appear to be flawed.

The Government’s expert task force has issued the guidelines against which it will assess proposals for high speed urban broadband networks, but they are fundamentally flawed.

the attributes of an objective seem to be something of which the Government’s Expert Task Force seems blissfully ignorant, for all its supposed expertise.

Read the entire article at ITWire

Labor to replace ‘second string’ FTTN task force if elected

Should the Labor party win the upcoming election this year, it appears one of the first things on the agenda will be to replace the ‘second string’ so called expert task force picked by the Coalition government with some ‘real people’ that are in the know when it comes to grass roots Broadband and it’s potential impact and future for our country.

Labor has said it is prepared to work with the government’s existing WiMax plans if it wins the next election — but the party’s shadow Communications Minister is getting the knives out for the Coalition’s expert taskforce on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN).

“We will be starting again with our own [taskforce],” he said, “and with someone who knows something about telecoms.”

Should Labor come to power in this year’s Federal elections, the Coalition’s fibre plans are likely to be dismantled and replaced with Labor’s own AU$4.7bn vision of Australian FTTN.

Read the entire article at ZDNet.

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FTTN or FTTH Network

With all this talk about a new high speed Broadband network for Australia, and should it be based on Fibre to the home or Fibre to the node technology, it has prompted me to get down to the basics for those of you out there who aren’t up to speed.

The current Australian liberal government is seeking tenders to build a new Broadband network. The guideline prospectus that was recently released suggests that the network infrastructure has to be faster than anything available today with the future potential of being upgradeable.  It appears that only two variations will have the requirements to suit such a network (FTTN or FTTH). So what is the fundamental difference between the two, and how much will they cost? Let’s take a closer look.

FTTN – Fibre to the node (aka fibre to the neighborhood or fibre to the cabinet – FTTCab):
FTTN is a telecommunication technology that uses ‘fibre optic’ cables that run from a cabinet in a local neighborhood. Connecting to this infrastructure from your home is done so by using ‘coaxial cable’ (the cable we currently use now for broadband services) or twisted pair wiring. Typically, a FTTN cabinet serves a few hundred customers in an approximate radius of 1.5kms or so. If the area that a cabinet serves is less than approximately 300ms, it would be then referred to as ‘Fibre to the curb’ (FTTC or fibre to the kerb FTTK).

FTTH – Fibre to the home (aka fiber to the premises – FTTP)
FTTH (like FTTN) is another variation of a ‘fibre optic’ telecommunication transmission technology. However it runs straight to the subscriber’s premises and therefore differentiates from FTTH as it does not use the ‘coaxial cable’ nor ‘twisted pair wiring’ methods.

How fast – Fibre Speeds
FTTN & FTTH technology can both produce Broadband speeds in the vicinity of 15-50Mbit/s. However, only a FTTH has the potential to reach office desktop speeds of 100-1,000Mbit/s (1Gbit).

How much – Fibre Prices $$
It’s been suggested that a FTTH network would cost about $1500 per household. While some argue that’s twice the amount that a FTTN network would cost, others suggest that a ball park FTTN figure is around $4.5 billion, and a FTTH network $20 billion.

While we in Australia await the deliberations of the government’s expert panel on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), other countries in the region are steadily building fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) access networks.

There are four main ways in which a major network upgrade can be justified: investment in national infrastructure; new services; operations cost savings; and competitive response.

both could deliver 50Mbit/s downstream and 1-2Mbit/s upstream. But, eventually, if we all want the line rates currently delivered to office desktops – namely, 100-1,000 Mbit/s – then FTTH will be required.

A broader view of the issues, such as reduced road traffic through greater home working and remote delivery of health and education services, could start to close the cost gap between FTTN and FTTH. 

Will it be a case that Australia is caught on the ‘back foot’ when it comes to technological advancements and may be left behind for sometime to come? Or will we get a high speed state-of-the-art Broadband network that will keep us on par with the rest of the world (or possibly higher) which will help our nation, and economy, excel toward future prosperity. Which ever the case, we’ll have to wait until after this year’s election well and truly passes for a decision.

Read the entire ‘Fibre: going all the way? article here at ovum


Additional Information and Statistics
FTTH & FTTN research gathered from
FTTH & FTTN Network costs sourced from The Age.com
Speeds & Prices researched from Fibre: going all the way article at ovum.com

High Speed Broadband to benefit Australia

While the two major Australian political parties are at logger heads over high speed Broadband for Australia, one thing is for certain, a new fast Broadband network will have a major positive impact on our nation. To reiterate on a article I recently wrote titled ‘Broadband Future’ back on Aug 10 2007, it appears that more and more people are starting to see the potential positives that a high speed Broadband network will have on Australia once it’s established.

A recent Nine MSN article and expert government executive ‘Matt Healy’ have stated that very fast Broadband will give people more than just IPTV, Video-on-demand and High definition TV, it will give the nation the ability to work from home – even from regional and remote areas. However, even the fastest Broadband network will need to be affordable in order to make these predicitons reality.

According to Matt Healy, napredictionstional executive regulatory and government with Macquarie Telecom (a member of the G9 group competing with Telstra for the right to build the national fibre network), it’s not the sexy services like high-definition TV on demand that will have the biggest impact, it’s the ability for people anywhere – even in remote areas – to work from home.

Video-conferencing is another area that holds great promise, especially in healthcare and education. Doctors in city hospitals could assist with the diagnosis of cases in remote areas via a video link, providing treatment recommendations long before a patient could get to a specialist.

Read the entire Nine MSN article here


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