Conroy claims first major apartment block is NBN ready

Conroy claims first major apartment block is NBN ready

Summary: The Australian government is promoting one of the first major new apartment blocks connected to the NBN; however, it will not face the same issues that other apartment blocks have had connecting to the NBN.


Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has claimed a win with the largest apartment block connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN). However, as a brand new apartment block, it did not face the same obstacles for installing fibre that have plagued NBN Co with other multi-dwelling units (MDUs).

Conroy today visited the new "Art on the Park" 36-storey apartment complex in Melbourne, with 376 units that will be able to connect to the NBN when residents begin moving in next month.

Labor's policy would be to deploy fibre into every apartment block, flat, and townhouse; however, NBN Co has found that multi-dwelling units represent a significant challenge for NBN Co, because each unit block is different and in varying condition.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested that NBN Co should instead employ fibre to the basement, and then use the existing copper cabling in existing apartment complexes to deliver services. NBN Co itself recently admitted that it had assessed this option, but the company is bound by government policy to continue to deliver fibre to the premises (FttP).

Today, Conroy boasted that Labor's policy would deliver fibre to every apartment.

"Unlike the Coalition, Labor's NBN will deliver fibre all the way to all apartments in Australia for free," he said.

"The Coalition's inadequate broadband policy ignores people living in flats and apartments, leaving them to rely on the ageing copper for their broadband."

In response, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull pointed out that the Coalition's policy has stated that new apartment complexes, such as the "Art on the Park" building, would get fibre because it is cost effective to install it there, unlike in existing apartment complexes.

"As to existing apartment buildings, Conroy claims the NBN Co is going to deliver fibre to all of those premises — battling with body corporates, drilling holes in apartment walls, nailing conduit to the side of the building if there is no room in the riser ... oh, it will be a fun old time running FttP into every apartment in Australia."

He said that it is "widely believed" that NBN Co had urged the government to change policy to fibre to the basement for apartment buildings, but this had been rejected by the government.

"Politics trumped common sense — not for the first time with this minister," Turnbull said.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Ah Greenfields

    "Art on the Park" should be happy. They're one of the few greenfield sites getting fibre installed, most waiting years (was the question "how long" even asked?). 376 premises is worthy of a media event given the update figures released a few days ago (still haven't made it to ZDNet; hmmm).

    Did NBNCo do the fibre installation or the building's contractors?

    Oh fibre the same as coalition policy.

    Conroy's description of free; taxpayer funding $44+b. Like Eddie Obeid's ski lodge?
    Richard Flude
  • Important factor

    FTTN or Via copper pair, limits the customers options, brodband and phone alone. The FTTP Unit has 4 Ports, so a dedicated Free to air and Open Access Video service is possible. No way Rupert will permit that
    Abel Adamski
    • is that

      limitation simply a matter of selection of the terminating device?
      Blank Look
      • Analog thinking

        You're right. Multiple ports each dedicated to one function don't make it better, that's the sort of analog thinking you find too much of amongst the NBN fanboys. They make it worse because you have to be connected to that port to get that function. Its all just streams of data. It all had to be pushed down the same fibre. You want anything connected to the customer end to be able to use any data stream. We don't need three fibres and a termination device with four data ports and two analog ports. We need digital thinking. We need a router built into the termination device with an easy way to plug in a switch and/or a wireless access point.
        Gordon D
        • No you don't get it

          What you are proposing, a built in router, while convenient, does not provide multiple services from multiple service providers. You are the one stuck in the days of analogue where it had to be your ISP that provided the pay TV. The NTUs multiple data a a much better feature than saving 20 bucks on a router. At least you don't have to spend hundreds on a VDSL2 vectoring modem, the consumer ones, just released, are around $600.
        • Demonstration

          Of the inability of many to comprehend
          A) The Technology
          B) The issues

          A) The NTU has 4 discrete ports, 4 Different isp's can be utilised. OR a combination of Broadband and other services such as Muticast VIDEO on another port - enablingtrue competition for the first time ever in Australia for Pay TV and Sport.

          In fact the complete 2.5 or 10GB of the node is present at the NTU, it just filters out the bits for the applicable service to the appropriate port. So 1Gb data on 1 Port, Multicast on another port and a 12Mb Unlimited cap on another port if wanted.

          So true Digital solution

          B) FTTN or FTTB with a pair to the customer cannot provide these options.
          WiFi Router in an MDU, all the different units WiFi's will be interfering with each other .
          So Protecting the Murdoch and Telstra Pay TV and Fox Sports monopoly profits.

          Even a simpleton can start working out 1+1=2
          Abel Adamski
          • Don't Forget

            The Multicast Video Services can with a 10GPON be allocated 1G and it is common to all subscribers to that Multicast service, Free to Air can be provided, Local community programs, and Pay and Subscription SeviceS, all in the decoding and filtering which can be remotely programmed into the NTU, or even a Set Top Box could do the trick. Not part of the Data cap as a Full Time Multicast shared service
            Abel Adamski
    • Why dedicated?

      Any IP network can deliver what's described anyway; available bandwidth the only limit. IPTV & content on demand can be delivered over any IP network.

      Multiple ISPs to the one household makes little sense. The application suggested removes the greatest competitive opportunity for content suppliers.

      Leading content providers likely to be foreign anyway (as are today's content suppliers).
      Richard Flude
      • Murdoch fanboi to Fluddy?

        "Multiple ISPs to the one household makes little sense"

        It makes lots of sense. Not being able to do it now means using a non ISP TV service is impractical as you use up all your data allowance and those services can't multicast without arangements with your ISP.

        "Leading content providers likely to be foreign anyway"
        Wow, there is one straight out of the Coalition FUD campaign. We have Mr Brown to thank for delivering that in some articles.
        • Right;-)

          ISPs make the arrangements, doesn't require another ISP.

          Majority of today's content is foreign, in ignorant-world this is going to disappear.
          Richard Flude
          • "Majority of today's content is foreign, in ignorant-world this is going to disappear."

            Hubert Cumberdale
          • How does your link apply?

            Majority of today's content is foreign sourced, and almost certain to be in the future.

            How is that comment even controversial?

            RS it takes me no time to read and comment on the few articles; it comes with experience and knowledge. Don't worry about me, put your effort into finishing school.

  ; how comical
            Richard Flude
          • you should probably spend a bit more time trying to comprehended the things you read fluddy...
            Hubert Cumberdale