Digging NBN’s dirt

Summary:With NBN Co now connecting premises as they roll down every street, there’s going to be a whole lot of digging required.

NBN Co's deal with Telstra allows the new network company to be provided with access to the old copper ducts at the local street level. If they are in a state of disrepair, unable to accommodate the new fibre, then the onus is on Telstra to fix them.

The same doesn't apply to ducts from the street to the home. In fact, many will simply to be too thin or too dilapidated to accommodate fibre, or the copper could interfere with the fibre signal.

When fibre can not be pushed through existing conduits, NBN Co will be left with three options: pull through the fibre, pulling out the existing copper in the process; dig a new trench in the occupant's garden to house the fibre; or create an overhead connection.

In this week's Twisted Wire, we hear how the last two options are likely to be most common. This means that there needs to be a lot of pre-installation education, so that householders will be happy to have work undertaken on their premises for a service they might think they don't need.

It also creates a layer of logistical complexity to the rollout. Can you really gain approval from more than 1,000 householders each day, then coordinate a time for the ground work to take place?

Talking all about pits and pipes this week are: John Stanton, CEO of the Communications Alliance; telecommunications commentator Kevin Morgan; and Paul Brooks, owner of Layer 10 Consulting.

What do you think? Has NBN Co underestimated the complexity of connecting each home? Call the Twisted Wire feedback line on 02 9304 5198 or leave a comment below.

Topics: NBN, Australia, Government : AU


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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