NBN not favouring Western Sydney: Conroy

NBN not favouring Western Sydney: Conroy

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has rejected suggestions that the rollout of the NBN is favouring marginal electorates of Western Sydney ahead of the 2013 election.

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TOPICS: NBN
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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has blamed the competition regulator for deciding the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout locations, denying that Western Sydney has been targeted to help Labor win the 2013 federal election.

A story by the Australian Financial Review highlighted that, of the 87,600 New South Wales premises set to be NBN-ready before the end of this financial year, 52 percent of those premises are in Western Sydney suburbs.

But speaking on ABC radio this morning, Conroy rejected that politics had played a part in determining where the NBN was rolling out.

"The suggestions that one electorate is favoured over another is absurd," he said.

The minister said that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's decision to require NBN Co to have 121 points of interconnect (POI) largely determined where the network begins to roll out.

"When you overlay the rollout with the ACCC mandated points of interconnect, you see the rollout by and large follows that," he said.

"It's not been determined by the government, it has not been determined by the NBN Co. The ACCC determined where we started. They picked the physical sites of the points of interconnect."

The day before, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull also appeared on the ABC, stating that his fibre-to-the-node policy, with the satellite and wireless factors included, would cost AU$15 billion. He said the cabinets where the fibre would connect to the existing copper would be as small as bar fridges, and could offer speeds of up to 100 megabits-per-second (Mbps).

"There is a new technology, a noise reducing technology called vectoring which is now being deployed, which will literally double the speeds. So if you had a line which was delivering 50Mbps now, with vectoring — which is just a software solution, you know, it's not expensive to deploy — you can then double that to 100Mbps," he said.

"It's essentially the same technology you have if anyone has used those noise, special headsets you have on aeroplanes."

But Conroy rejected this suggestion, saying that the cabinets would have to be situated within 400 metres of each residence in order to achieve the speeds Turnbull was suggesting.

"Unless you live within 400 metres from a cabinet, you can't get the speeds he's claiming."

Belgacom in Belgium has a fibre-to-the-node network already, but has begun rolling out the VDSL2 vectoring to its 19,000 cabinets with Alcatel-Lucent. This is the same technology that Turnbull has suggested could be used in Australia.

Belgacom is promising its one million customers in those locations a dedicated speed of 50Mbps, up from the 30Mbps available on VDSL2 today. The company has suggested that those living within 400 metres of a cabinet could see speeds of up to 100Mbps, but those who live 1200 metres from the cabinet will see their download speed around 40Mbps.

Topic: NBN

About

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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Talkback

18 comments
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  • No...

    Just you...
    RS-ef540
  • Those speeds

    using fiber to the node and copper to the premise are quite impressive. I wonder if the Australian broadband roll out will end up being a mixture of both methods.
    Blank Look
    • "using fiber to the node and copper to the premise are quite impressive."

      Remember when Turnbull said 50-60mbps?
      Remember when Turnbull said 80mbps?
      So the new magic number is now 100mbps.

      What you end up getting on FttN is irrelevant and how many get the new magic number is irrelevant too but keep in mind it won’t be all and certainly not the majority. Also we still don't know what the node spacing will be. However Turnbulls constant readjustment all points to the same thing and that is more speed is needed. We wouldn't be seeing him try and sell his substandard FttN patchwork plan with these numbers if it wasn't.
      Hubert Cumberdale
    • Coalition's NBN alternative will likely cause a broadband monopoly

      http://www.abc.net.au/technology/articles/2013/02/13/3689280.htm

      OK if those nodes are all handed back to Telstra as the sole BB provider & you're a stone's throw from the local node.
      Otherwise a massive Fail.
      grump3
  • Hmmm

    Where have our "haunting" shadows gone HC?

    Don't tell me the child has finally grown up?
    RS-ef540
    • or maybe it's just suckling time at liberal party hq :-)
      Hubert Cumberdale
  • Libs don't want NBN

    The Libs don't want NBN so don't givem any, the bran guy 's been eating too much of his name u can tell by what comes out the end!
    Kevin Cobley
  • Conroy just outrageous!

    Minister Conroy's claims (in relation to the high proportion of premises passed being in Western Sydney) that "the ACCC made them do it" is just outrageous. For a start, the ACCC didn't tell NBNCo where it had to put POI's, it simply formulated the competition principles, which determined roughly how many POI's would be required (120) and how many premises each would serve (generally 80,000 to 100,000). NBNCo, after consultation with Telstra (re space in telephone exchanges) and ACCC, determined the location of the POI's. There are 43 POI's in NSW, of which 28 are classified as metropolitan or outer metro. I'm not sure how many of those POI locations would be regarded as "Western Sydney" but for Minister Conroy to claim that the ACCC process forced NBNCo to rollout any one area first is just not true. It defies credibility to assert that there is no political component to this situation.
    Achilles-9158f
    • Why Complain?

      Considering the anti NBN crowd don't want FTTP & are quite happy to continue using their existing copper from the proposed local 'Bar Fridge" why whinge about those dreadful Western Suburbs (possible Labor voters?) being locked in to a fibre connection before Turnbull 'Destroys the NBN ' following His 'certain' FTTN election Victory come September?
      grump3
      • +1

        +1 grump3

        Apparently according to such people the NBN is a white elephant and should be stopped (psst can have a white elephant for me first though).

        *rolls eyes* at the mentality
        RS-ef540
  • Wrong...

    NBNCo planned and wanted 14 POI's the ACCC demanded 121 POI's.

    So POI issues are ACCC related well and truly and anyone who suggests otherwise either has no credibility or no idea.
    RS-ef540
  • Not wrong at all - read more carefully...

    Nobody is denying that the number of POI's is ACCC related. Nor am I disputing that NBNCo wanted 14 POI's. The ACCC decided that would give NBNCo a monopoly over not just the access network, but much more. The only pieces that would have been outside NBNCo's monopoly would have been the intercapital longhaul links. It had the potential to make worthless a lot of existing fibre infrastructure within each state and to destroy competition in the provision of backhaul. So the ACCC insisted on a semi-distributed model as I described. What I was arguing is that the ACCC did NOT detemine the location of each POI - it published principles which were then used to decide on the number and location of the POI's. NBNCo did the network design. I was further arguing that it is ridiculous for Miinister Conroy to claim that the ACCC decided which of the service areas attached to the 43 NSW POI's NBNCo should roll out first. I still hold to that.
    Achilles-9158f
    • Exetel

      http://www.zdnet.com/au/exetel-offers-unlimited-off-peak-data-over-nbn-7000012073/

      "Exetel told ZDNet that the price rise for NBN products was due to an increase in the cost of backhaul for providing services on the NBN."

      In acting to not strand the private sector fibre assetts by mandating the 121 POI's instead of 14, the ACCC has hugely increased the operational costs of the isp's nationally and have left the consumer at the mercy of those private sector fibre owners
      Abel Adamski
  • If we want t be pedantic...

    Perhaps the ACCC didn't dictate where the POI's were to go, but the extra 107 they insisted on had to go somewhere and no matter where they went the naysayers would whinge...
    RS-ef540
  • It's about being truthful...

    "but the extra 107 they insisted on had to go somewhere and no matter where they went the naysayers would whinge..." Can't you accept that this has nothing to do with NBN champions OR naysayers; it is about people being honest (or not). I still say that the ACCC did not determine which areas NBNCo had to roll out first. NBNCo made that choice (perhaps in collaboration with the government); the ACCC did not.

    "n acting to not strand the private sector fibre assetts by mandating the 121 POI's instead of 14, the ACCC has hugely increased the operational costs of the isp's nationally and have left the consumer at the mercy of those private sector fibre owners"
    It is unrealistic to believe that NBNCo would not factor in the cost of backhaul all the way to POI's located in the state capitals, and neither I nor the ACCC can see any reason why a monopoly would set a lower price for backhaul than competing private providers. I can't accept the assetion that this change has "hugely increased the operating costs of ISP's nationally". Is it possible that Exetel undersetimated their backhaul capacity requirements and is now trying to shift blame?
    Achilles-9158f
  • Yes and here is that truth

    Even though I said perhaps the ACCC didn't dictate exactly where the POI's were to go.... they clearly set the rules for NBNCo to follow and had input at each step, ensuring roll out transparency.

    From a paper contained within the ACCC website - (refer last paragraph)

    http://transition.accc.gov.au/content/item.phtml?itemId=1101458&nodeId=f6316908cebee0b45b70039a12d645be&fn=%20ACCC%20Consultation%20Paper%20on%20the%20Policies%20and%20Procedures%20for%20the%20Identification%20of%20NBN%20POIs%20-%20February%202013.pdf
    RS-ef540
    • No problem with that

      Agreed. The ACCC set some rules which dictated approximately where the POI's would go and about how many would be required. They probably looked over the shouders of NBNCo to ensure that the locations chosen by NBNCo met the ACCC's competition criteria. In doing so the ACCC restricted NBNCo's monopoly to just the access network, and incidentally saved us from having statewide layer-two networks, but that is another story. I'm not disputing any of this, nor am I begrudging those people in Western Sydney who are lucky enough to among the first to get the NBN past their doors. I do object to the statement quoting Minister Conroy - "It's not been determined by the government, it has not been determined by the NBN Co. The ACCC determined where we started. They picked the physical sites of the points of interconnect." Conroy is referring here to the initial rollout, not to the location of the POI's. In particular I object to the statement "The ACCC determined where we started." The ACCC determined that there would be about 28 POI's throughout Sydney. They did not tell NBNCo where to start, and that is what Josh Taylor's piece is about.
      Achilles-9158f
  • I only mentioned...

    POI's because you brought them up and suggested their placement was political.

    The facts clearly show otherwise.

    I repeat, some are suggesting political intervention because of a Wetern Sydney/Labor heartland, look after their own mentality.

    Of course had the roll out been in Coalition seats (especially marginal seats) the cry would have been exactly the same from the same people bleating, pork barrelling elsewhere.

    The POIs had to go somewhere and the roll out had to start somewhere and there will always be conspiracy theories no matter where.

    But I think grump3 said it best above - "Considering the anti NBN crowd don't want FTTP & are quite happy to continue using their existing copper from the proposed local 'Bar Fridge" why whinge about those dreadful Western Suburbs (possible Labor voters?) being locked in to a fibre connection before Turnbull 'Destroys the NBN ' following His 'certain' FTTN election Victory come September?"
    RS-ef540