Many unanswered questions in Coalition's NBN plan: Macquarie Telecom

Many unanswered questions in Coalition's NBN plan: Macquarie Telecom

Summary: While the Coalition's NBN plan gives businesses a degree of certainty, there are still many details that have been left out, according to Macquarie Telecom group executive for telecommunications Chris Greig.

TOPICS: Australia, NBN

While it is heartening to see the Coalition's National Broadband Network (NBN) strategy providing a level of certainty for businesses looking forward to an ultra-fast broadband future, there are still glaring potholes in the details of the plan, according to Macquarie Telecom group executive for telecommunications Chris Greig.

The Coalition's NBN, announced last week, would see Australians get a minimum achievable download speed of 25Mbps by 2016, which will get bumped up to 50Mbps by 2019 — significantly less, compared to the current NBN that is being rolled out across the country under the Labor government. The Coalition's NBN would, however, be cheaper than Labor's NBN.

"There are a number of areas that still need to be worked out [such as] would you manage the transition? The upload speeds, service levels, speed of activation," he said at the launch of the NBN Business Readiness Survey 2013. "How are you going to handle the voice service? Because although the NBN is for national broadband, for many of our customers, the broadband is important, but their fixed phone environment is critical.

"They transact a lot of business on their fixed-line phone, so guarantees on that are very important."

Labor's NBN features voice over internet protocol (VoIP), while in the Coalition's version, since it still uses copper for the last mile, the voice service would remain unchanged. The copper network is deteriorating with age, and may affect services in the future.

"We tend to take the fixed-line voice business a little bit for granted, but it's a complex application, a real-time application, and it needs to be secure for this transition," Greg said. He expects more clarity from the Coalition prior to the federal election in September.

Greig sees both Labor and the Coalition's NBN plans offering significantly faster broadband, but said there needs to be consideration for the multiple applications that will be running on the network. This is particularly pertinent to the Coalition's NBN, which would provide significantly lower speeds.

He noted that video conferencing these days is fine between different capital cities, but, when you move beyond that to regional areas that have inferior internet connections, video can become a bit jittery.

"Both [NBN plans'] minimum speeds put forward are certainly more adequate, at least four to eight times the speed we have today," Greig said. "But you're not just running video conferencing; you're running other applications at the same time."

These are all things that will impact how businesses operate, though many of them have failed to prepare adequately for the arrival of the NBN, according to the NBN Business Readiness Survey, which was sponsored by Macquarie Telecom and conducted by Deloitte Access Economics.

Out of 167 medium-sized companies, half of them believe the NBN will bring significant changes to how they operate, but many don't believe they are ready for the ultra-fast broadband network.

For example, half of the survey's respondents expect the NBN to boost teleworking, which will allow flexible working, but only 29 percent said they are ready to do that within their organisation. Results are similar in terms of whether the respondents' companies have made any business policy changes to accommodate for the NBN.

Greig said companies need to start having the conversations about what they should do before the NBN becomes a fully fledged network.

Topics: Australia, NBN

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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  • Coalition Phone System

    Presently phones are powered from the exchange. If fibre runs from the exchange to the node and copper from the node to the premises how will the copper be powered and will phones still be available when there is a power outage?
    • Depends how it's implemented

      BT in the UK continues the telephone cable to the exchange, FTTN cabinet providing only vDSL.

      Emergency services an important consideration, particularly for the elderly and disabled. Often overlooked, see NBNCo history.
      Richard Flude
      • Ah yes...

        Mr I don't have allegiances, who bags the NBN daily and has not said one harsh word about MT's plan before, during or after... *sigh*
        • Clown-in-chief

          My first post after the announcement started "Govt should be out of broadband"!

          The Liberal policy document includes everything I've been posting about for years; use of existing infrastructure, priority for areas where market failed, access to infrastructure for competition, review of NBNCo past activities, CBA, etc

          It is almost as if they commissioned me to write it;-)

          If they fail to deliver expect me to be as vocal as I have about the massive disaster that we've witnessed with Labor's attempt, and you've apologized for, all this time.
          Richard Flude
          • LOL

            Gee fancy you and the Libs twins...! Worst kept secret at ZD *rolls eyes*

            Yes you'll be vocal, apologising for your plan...

            It just gets better, eh Dick!

            I note you are unable to even mention that magic page number you lied about?
          • Looking forward to the review

            "Federal cabinet rejected recommendations from one of the government’s top financial advisers to take a tougher approach in negotiations with Telstra over the national broadband network.

            According to multiple sources close to the negotiations, investment bank Lazard pushed for lengthier non-compete clauses preventing Telstra from building fixed-line infrastructure long after the NBN is finished – slated for June 2021.

            Lazard, which advised the government on the $11 billion transaction, also raised concerns about the size of payments to compensate Telstra for the loss of its wholesale monopoly and for access to its fixed-line infrastructure.

            A broad range of advice was prepared by senior Lazard bankers, including chief executive John Wylie, for cabinet before the deal was signed in June 2011. It is understood these two recommendations were rejected.

            “This was a political project and a political decision was made to push ahead as quickly as possible,” said one source. “This was not a project about commercial outcomes. It was about political outcomes.”"

            AFR much better read after Fairfax appointed the new grown up editors.

            When NBNCo goes down it will be huge. Looking forward to names:-)

            I haven't been reading the talkbacks after posting, usual clowns offer little value. But with a little time I see RS and huberdink preoccupation with a comment made months ago referring corporate plan rollout numbers. The info was lifted from this article:

            Their only contribution (yes for months) are not about the abject failure of NBNCo to meet any of its forecast rollout figures but some Pyrrhic victory (or spelling errors on my iPod touch). For the record the corp plan does NOT predict 54k active for end of Dec (actually silent for that date).

            Time has shown how ridiculous their attempts have been, the Orwellian metric of work commenced the obvious spin of the desperate. But the clowns continued to fall for it; easy without any experience nor knowledge (dismissive of those wih both). The confidence of the ignorant demonstrating the 40% real increase in school spending over the last decade a complete farce.
            Richard Flude
          • Blah, blah, blah

            Nice deflection... we've heard all the FUD before Dick.

            Now scroll up and check the topic and then....

            GO (pftt as if)
          • Oh...

            So months later YOU don't have a page number.

            YOU quoted as YOUR facts, without basis of YOUR OWN, something stated in MSM...

            ROFL... speaking of clowns, no one is that silly, are they?
          • The number was incorrect

            The point wasn't.

            I notice at the time you gloating NBNCo were on target. The mentioned December update wasn't kind to your position (NBNCo won publish 6 month forecasts). The recent NBNCo announcement that it will miss by a massive margin even their revise corp plan 2 Jun numbers would be enough to silence most, but the confidence of the ignorant is in full swing.

            The review will be fascinating, the article enlightening (such articles coming fast these days with all the blood in the water). Perhaps with your extensive commercial experience, academic qualifications and remarkable insights you'd like to add something to the discussion;-)
            Richard Flude
          • But, But, But... you :/

            The number was incorrect...ROFL

            So, you had no page number it was all a lie... thank you

            WRONG in relation to the roll out numbers...

            I said let's wait and see and we have seen.

            Nice try though.
          • "The info was lifted from this article:

            That's right Fluddy. You quoted Turnbull in this article and I asked for the page number because I assumed someone like you so concerned with facts would check the corporate plan to confirm if Turnbull was correct and telling the truth when he said (which you quoted) "NBN Co's corporate plan of August 2012 said there would be 54,000 connections to the fibre network at that time".

            "For the record the corp plan does NOT predict 54k active for end of Dec (actually silent for that date)."

            So for the record Turnbull was lying. What else is he lying about I wonder.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • For the record both

            Turnbull & myself were wrong. That is not the same as lying.

            The point of NBNCo missing targets is now obvious. Their corp plan (and revisions) discredited. Revenue projections laughable.

            Missing targets I'd have to answer to the Board. Missing them by as much as NBNCo I'd be sacked. NBNCo however pays out bonuses. We see from the article above a valuable insight into the way la la labor runs projects. The cheering from their fanboys can't disguise their failures. Expect much more to be uncovered.

            Attack the coalition policy, as will I for its failures. Much covered in their policy document, much I've called for for years. Still much unknown, including the cost of contracts already committed to by Labor, the bill to be picked up by taxpayers. The satellites alone a ridiculous waste given available capacity. The article shows the childish quality of the process, sealed hock line and sinker by the clowns.
            Richard Flude
          • Here's you Chance to be Vocal Richard.

            Just provide a few answers to these concerns for a starter:
          • I've many concerns

            But it is not like networks using FTTN and HFC are unknown, there's dozen of examples worldwide. I suggest you look at a few of them.

            Much more to detail required (I've never said otherwise), however none of it changes the fact NBNCo has failed.

            Ideally Govts should restrict itself to where market has failed, for the majority of Australians a competitive telecoms sector can deliver required Internet service. Current Govt has killed all this investment with their incoherent thought bubbles costing billions. At least the new plan encourages use of existing infrastructure and infrastructure competition.
            Richard Flude
          • Re many Concerns

            Exacly the sort of twaddle as a reply I'd expect from AJ or Turnbull!
            Never mind the facts, just keep on trolling at every opportunity, lol.
          • "The political reality requiring a policy response; they've delivered."

            It's a PDF. yay?

            "Labor deserve to blah blah blah A party of Craig Thomsons more blah blah blah"

            Fluddy, notice something. I'm not asking you about labor or the NBN. I am asking you about the Abbott plan. This article is about that so can you at least try to avoid diverting the topic in this article? If you want to discuss labor or Craig Thomson maybe you can find a political forum to discuss that with others who want to do the same. I'm only here to talk about communications infrastructure and in this article more specifically the Abbott network.

            "Until then perhaps a little respect for those that face these realities everyday."

            Oh I have respect for them what I don't have respect for is people like you, everyone knows someone like you Fluddy; an endless oracle of misinformation and ill-informed opinions. People that consider themselves experts on a subject but are really just bitter because they chose the wrong career and hate their job. They want their pet opinions known: "Hey! Me toooooo! I can do THAT better!"

            "But it is not like networks using FTTN and HFC are unknown"

            It is not like networks using FttP are unknown either. So if we have concerns about either in Australia it really isn't about copper vs fibre...

            "however none of it changes the fact NBNCo has failed."

            Once again, that is irrelevant to this topic, if NBNco has indeed "failed" then it will be the coalitions network that we will be using, right? Questions need to be asked and answered about it now not later.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • +1


            No more needs to be said :)
          • Your chance

            Abbott is just planning to "finish" the NBN as quickly as possible and then flog it.
            Would YOU buy shares in it from the LNP, it will then be your GOD, private enterprise
            Abel Adamski
      • S'funny

        Not that long ago people like you were screaming bloody murder because of the compulsory battery backup on your NBN box to keep the phone active during outages.

        So which is it? [You do know what a battery backup does do you not?]
        • Link please

          "People like you", right;-)

          The clowns now angry at a post about how others are doing it in other parts of the world. Enjoy your ignorance.
          Richard Flude