Proposed NBN FttN products may be misleading: ACCC

Proposed NBN FttN products may be misleading: ACCC

Summary: NBN Co's proposal to retain the existing high-speed products for fibre to the node despite potential speed issues could be misleading, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.


NBN Co's proposal to retail service providers to retain the existing speed tiers across fibre to the premises to the fibre to the node/fibre to the basement services may draw the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) if it fails to live up to the speed promises.

As part of the shift to the so-called multi-technology mix model for the National Broadband Network as directed by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, NBN Co will need to develop new product sets for retail service providers to onsell to customers across fibre to the node, fibre to the building, and hybrid fibre-coaxial.

According to a discussion paper distributed at NBN Co's product development forum with retail service providers such as Telstra, Optus, and iiNet, NBN Co has suggested it will retail the existing speed tiers at 12Mbps/1Mbps, 25Mbps/5Mbps, 50Mbps/10Mbps, and 100Mbps/40Mbps as currently exists on fibre to the premises today.

The caveat will be that the 50Mbps and 100Mbps products will offer "up to" those speeds, indicating that the speed seen by the end user will be subject to the quality of the copper line from the node to the premises.

NBN Co will also seek to absolve itself from responsibility for the line speed achieved by customers, according to reports, with the company stating in the discussion paper that "selecting the correct speed tier will be the responsibility of the end user and the provider."

The company has said it will not prevent users from ordering the "up to 100Mbps" service for lines that get speeds lower than 50Mbps, even if the 50Mbps tier comes at a lower price.

Facing questioning from former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in Budget Estimates this morning, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he hadn't seen the discussion paper but said that Conroy's description — a 38Mbps FttN service being sold as 100Mbps — may be misleading for retail service providers to sell such a product.

"At its face, that would be misleading," he said.

Conroy suggested it was fraud, but Sims said he would respond at a later time after examining the paper.

"I'll take it on notice, Senator. Under our terms, it is misleading."

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia


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
  • FTTN speed

    In the USA AT&T FTTN speed on one pair goes up to 24/3 Mbps.
    With two pairs you can have 45/6 Mbps FTTN.
    How can Australia sell up to 50 and 100 Mbps FTTN services??
    Who will check the ~8 million copper pairs to see if they are fit for FTTN services (up to 17 MHz on unshielded phone wires)?
    • fttn you refer to

      Do you know if it is using ADSL2, VDSL or VDSL2? Because the answer makes a huge difference.

      If it is VDSL2 then that is definitely a question worth asking. If it isn't VDSL2 then that's your answer as to why the Aus links can potentially be so much faster.

      The Wikipedia page shows VDSL2 is 50-100 Mbits/s so the quoted figures from the new NBN are correct.
  • Why you be so surprised

    If you voted liberal, i have no sympathy. It was obvious from the get go they were, at best, downgrade the NBN
  • Not Just Misleading...

    Turnbull has proved to be Allbull for the past 3 years with his cheaper, sooner, faster, by 2016 for all fraudband spiel.

    His beloved copper has already provided us here with a foretaste of what it can deliver when we 'upgraded' from our ADSL1 plan to ADSL2.
    Surprise Surprise! Exactly the same sub 1 mbps results as before but at a higher price.
  • Always been misleading

    From the earliest days of trying to pass off its Satellite and Wireless networks as its 4% FttP network it has always been misleading - what's different now ?
    Still a great big white elephant where money could be used better elsewhere and private sector could do a better job.
    • agreed

      Couldn't agree more.
    • 6%

      I believe was the actual amount stated. Or was it 7. At least they had the guts to say what they were going to do, then go about trying to achieve it. So far this government has stated a pipe dream of a lie before they were elected, set about achieving less and built nothing the previous plan wouldn't have surpassed if it wasn't interrupted. FttN by 2016, full CBA before choosing a plan, which hasn't happened, and much cheaper. Sound familiar?

      Oh and I forgot, the private sector. Telstra has managed to achieve what by itself? I remember, they asked the government for a payout to buy better payouts. The privatized telstra that is. The public one was planning on building Fibre, before it was sold by the liberals (surprise).
      Maybe in an alternate universe the debate would have been about which fibre protocal to use, not which medium.
  • Fraudband Copper is always been misleading.

    As long as the advertised "upto" speeds and the throughput are massively different, like it is on xDSL Networks, Fraudband will always misleading.

    This is because the way the DSL networks are designed, and were not meant for this type of abuse, and the strain on the copper itself (not the equipment) is and will always be the weakest link.

    Thus those who said that Fibre is best technology and the correct technology to go for, is correct.

    Fibre is designed for Broadband, Copper is designed for phone calls.