NBN Co put rejected apartment alternative in corporate plan

NBN Co put rejected apartment alternative in corporate plan

Summary: Exclusive: NBN Co originally put an alternative fibre-to-the-basement proposal for apartment blocks in the revised corporate plan in 2012, but it was rejected by the Australian government.


NBN Co's revised draft corporate plan, given to the Australian government last year, originally contained a proposal for fibre to the basement, but it was removed in the publicly released document in August 2012.

Under the current government policy, NBN Co is rolling out fibre to 93 percent of Australian premises, including multi-dwelling units (MDUs) such as apartments and town houses, despite the added complexity of replacing in-building copper with fibre.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley confirmed in April to the joint parliamentary committee investigating the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout that the company had assessed switching to a fibre-to-the-basement model, which would have been more cost effective.

"From time to time, the company looks at ways of doing things perhaps more cost effectively in line with what we think the government policy is, and we may put those options before the government," he said.

"Obviously, we looked at the option of running fibre into the basement, putting a small DSLAM into the basement, and then using the existing copper. That has certain attractions, obviously, as you do not get into structural separation issues because normally, that copper is owned by the building owner.

"There is no question there is a saving to be had by not having to fibre a multi-dwelling unit, but there are some other issues that need to be dealt with, such as how you ensure that you get analogue voice, which is a tricky issue."

At the time, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that NBN Co executives were interested in looking at more cost-effective policies, but were bound by strict government policy. He has indicated that his own NBN policy would see fibre rolled into the basement for apartment blocks.

ZDNet filed a Freedom of Information request with NBN Co in May, seeking access to the MDU study conducted by NBN Co. Last week, NBN Co refused to release the document.

In the decision, NBN Co said that the MDU study was an appendix to the draft revised corporate plan, which was submitted to the Cabinet last year.

On advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), NBN Co has rejected previous FOI requests for the draft corporate plan, and again, on advice from DPMC, rejected ZDNet's request on the grounds that it would reveal Cabinet deliberations.

ZDNet has requested the Information Commissioner to review this decision.

Neither Turnbull nor Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

NBN Co has a history of refusing access to documents under FOI, including access to the full AU$11 billion Telstra deal, the draft corporate plan, and documents outlining why Chinese network giant Huawei was banned from tendering for the NBN.

Topic: NBN


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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Understandable that it was removed. As evident by comments on websites such Delimiter there are many less informed that dont understand that FttB = FttP and would take it as a FttN endorsement. Thing is NBNco dont even have to apologise here if that is what they would do for MDUs but obviously they have more concerns with this approach;-)
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Indeed HC

      Funny the lengths some will go to.

      The announcement relating to the current NBN (fibre) was indeed for FttP and yes the basement is part of the premises...!
      • Re: the basement is part of the premises

        Which residents' premises?
      • What a classic

        They still deny the obvious cost and time savings.

        Rejected for political reasons only; defended by the "non-political" clowns;-)

        Of course it FTTN, the mode being in the basement.
        Richard Flude
        • "What a classic"

          Indeed. The first steps up to the plate and the second one limps;-)

          "They still deny the obvious cost and time savings."

          That FttB in MDUs saves time and money? AMAZING CIO level insight but who is denying this? Are you imagining things again Fluddy?

          "Of course it FTTN, the mode being in the basement."

          And now FttB is FttN according to them... Ok, ok, I'll agree to save an argument, I'm in charitable mood so let's call FttH FttN as well. Of course it is FttN, the node being in the home;-)

          OK, glad we got that sorted... you can stop whining about NBNco now since they are in fact rolling out and have been rolling out a FttN network all along;-)


          Hope this info-graphic helps;-)
          Hubert Cumberdale
          • Graphic doesn't show it as FTTH

            They'll be using the same twisted copper pair you claim Telstra doesn't use, and BS refers to as obsolete:-)

            Good work boys!
            Richard Flude
          • Err Richard


            "FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises): This term is used either as a blanket term for both FTTH and FTTB, or where the fiber network includes both homes and small businesses."

            Oh, but wiki...

            You sir are an idiot...
          • "Graphic doesn't show it as FTTH"

            yep, and good thing I never said FttB = FttH. Were you not paying attention?

            What I said was FttB = FttP.

            That statement is true and factual.

            FttH & FttB are both FttP however.

            Try not to mix them up again;-)

            "They'll be using the same twisted copper pair you claim Telstra doesn't use"

            Link to where I claimed this.

            "Good work boys!"

            Not good work from you however. Seriously a CIO that doesn't know these basics;-)
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Indeed HC

            It quite comical watching anyone who claims to be a high flying tech exec, not understand the differentials of Fttx... but then he hasn't even heard of WHS and still refers to it as OHS so...ROFL.

            The announcement for the NBN was always Ftt"P"...
          • MDU solution rejected by NBN Co

            Twisted copper pair discussion:

            I was wrong about FTTB, clearly NBNCo by Wikipedia is a FTTH network (rejecting nodes). Not FTTP definition now used; hence the confusion.
            Richard Flude
          • "MDU solution rejected by NBN Co"

            You should notice hardly anyone thinks this is a good decision. FttB for MDUs is a good idea.

            "Twisted copper pair discussion:

            This link shows what exactly? Where is the claim from me regarding Telstra twisted copper pair?

            "Not FTTP definition now used; hence the confusion."

            P = Premise. So tbh I'm not sure where the confusion lies. If NBNco did go with this solution it would simply be a FttP network featuring both FttB and FttH instead of just FttH. The "FTTH vs. FTTB" section on the Wikipedia page RS posted explains it.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • You continued to deny twisted pair use for majority Internet

            I confused about the finish; NBN Co is a FTTH network, or FTTP is used interchangeably (despite use of existing copper, clearly not line length based)?

            Wiki has FTTC as FTTP. Appears almost anything is FTTP; a ridiculous proposition (yeah wiki).
            Richard Flude
          • FFS

            Just when we thought, oh gee look Richard is finally showing human tendencies by admitting he was wrong... he tries it on again *sigh*

            From Wiki... FttC/FttK - "This is very similar to FTTN, but the street cabinet or ***POLE*** is closer to the user's premises, typically within 1,000 feet (300 m), within range for high-bandwidth copper technologies such as wired ethernet or IEEE 1901 power line networking and wireless wi-fi technology.

            *** FTTC is occasionally ambiguously called FTTP (fiber-to-the-pole), leading to confusion with the distinct fiber-to-the-premises system.***"

            Note the ***

            Wrong FttP Richard... you are still wrong or make that wrong again... (yeah Rich)
          • The NBN fibre roll out...

            Is FttP (premises) ...as from the first announcement made by your mate Stephen Conroy...

            As someone who spends 24/7 bagging the NBN, I would have assumed that knowing this would be one of the most basic "educations"... otherwise you are bagging something you either don't understand or for "other reasons" (cough).

            I would also have assumed someone who says he's the CIO of a tech company would also have known this...

            But no x 2 :/

            How interesting but typical...
          • Richard

            Although I enjoy rubbing it in...

            Our quality time here started when I first accused you of being comms uneducated, which you took general offence to and our correspondences towards each other degenerated from there. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to you personally, just tell it as it was in relation to you input...

            So considering this new Fttx experience many moons later, would you now like to apologise for overreacting to my initial, now proven totally factual description of you?;-)
          • Sorry RS

            I'm happy to be wrong about FTTP (trivial point anyway given your glaring BS and NBNCo failures), but given NBNCos rejection of anything but fibre to the end user premises is surely FTTH.
            Richard Flude
          • No...

            You aren't happy at all... you were caught contradicting yourself twice and have desperately tried to wriggle out of it...twice. GOLD

            Then after admitting you were wrong, the ego kicked in and you tried to lwriggle there too, by lying/blaming wiki for FttB/FttP didn't you?

            Considering you are here talking down to us, because you are a CIO (or rather a LOL) and yoi is un educatum liberal - tarian, when in fact you have NFI about the topic at hand, just proves what you are (i.e. you sir are an idiot).

            As for your desperate incorrect lies regarding me - "your glaring BS and NBNCo failures"

            LINK PLEASE? Now this IS where history will again prove you wrong... At least you are consistent and we are making progress, as you now recognise/admit you are WRONG.

            Have a lovely day Richard :)
          • Quick...

            FttC/FttP before my typo gets jumped on :)
          • BTW...

            Thank you for the apology Richard.
          • "You continued to deny twisted pair use for majority Internet"

            yeah, I think you might be imagining things here...

            "Wiki has FTTC as FTTP."

            and here too.
            Hubert Cumberdale