Turnbull: NBN fibre-to-the-basement trial a 'blistering' success

Turnbull: NBN fibre-to-the-basement trial a 'blistering' success

Summary: Fibre-to-the-basement trials in Melbourne have produced download speeds of 108Mbps, according to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

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Early fibre-to-the-basement trials with Alcatel-Lucent have produced download speeds of 108 megabits per second, and 48 megabits per second upload speeds, according to Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

As part of the statement of expectations provided to the company by Turnbull after the election in September, NBN Co was asked to assess alternative technologies for the NBN rollout, including VDSL.

In NBN Co's strategic review, the company recommends using fibre to the basement for multi-dwelling units such as apartments, where it is more cost prohibitive to roll out fibre into every apartment.

Although NBN Co did not conduct any fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-basement trials as part of the review, it had been undertaking some initial lab trials, and this morning, Turnbull revealed that NBN Co has tested fibre to the basement in an apartment block in Melbourne.

"Since the change of government, NBN Co has been trialling that previously prohibited technology. The first results are in — in an apartment building in Melbourne, over 150 metres of internal copper wiring is delivering download speeds of 108Mbps, upload 48Mbps," Turnbull said in a blog post.

"That's blisteringly fast, and at a fraction of the cost of taking the fibre into every apartment."

NBN Co had previously advocated for including fibre to the basement as part of an alternative method of accessing apartment blocks, including a separate policy for it in the draft 2012 corporate plan. This proposal was removed after it was submitted to Cabinet under the former Labor government.

ZDNet sought access to the document under Freedom of Information; however, NBN Co blocked its release on the grounds that it would reveal Cabinet deliberations. ZDNet appealed this decision in June this year, but six months on, the Australian Information Commissioner has yet to review the case.

The strategic review released on Thursday also calls for almost one third of Australian premises to use the existing hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks owned by Telstra and Optus to access the NBN, after the company makes upgrades to the network. NBN Co already has deals in place with the two companies to move HFC customers over to the NBN, but the agreements in their current form would not let NBN Co take ownership of the networks.

Although Telstra and Optus are likely to be tough negotiators, Turnbull has said that he believes renegotiations can be resolved quickly.

"The road ahead for NBN Co is challenging, incorporating additional access technologies adds complexity, but it saves over AU$30 billion and more than three years of construction," he said.

"There are important negotiations to be had with Telstra and with Optus. But I am confident the goodwill and spirit of openness will see them concluded much sooner than many think."

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU

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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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20 comments
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  • Sure

    NBN to the basement makes sense as an interim measure to get around the body-corporate and retrofit issues. Eventually each apartment will need fibre, but it can be left to the body corporate to vote on and plan over an interim period of a few years while NBN Co can concentrate on deploying more street fibre.

    But that doesn't excuse the rest of the new plan of HFC + FTTN as the complete shambles that it is. The lame attempt by Malcolm of trying to associate these results over internal protected copper, with the street copper that nobody (even telstra) has a handle over is very obvious.
    What I want to know is - what happens when they do a FTTB deployment onto to discover that the internal wiring is rubbish? Do they then extend it to FTTH or re-deploy new copper? And who's responsibility is it?
    gr1f
    • From my understand of the report...

      It states that because FttP doesn't cost any more on average for MDU's of less than 30-40 units, if FttB isn't viable FttP would be used - but I'm unsure on what would occur for MDU's larger than that.

      I could extrapolate a bit however, coming from how the report states they could palm off the infrastructure work on greenfields of 100 premises or less to the developer, paying them an 'on average' fee per premises - Large MDU body corporates would probably get paid an 'on average' fee per premises passed for a new install of improved copper, to meet NBNCo's satisfaction, throughout the building.
      Andrew Hargrave
  • Interesting that Turnbull would describe speeds like "108mbps" as "blisteringly fast" when the proper NBN can go as high as 1gbps. Perhaps he is easy to impress. I mean I know Turnbull is very keen to hype up a FttB trial as an example of what can be achieved on copper but the big problem for him will be getting those "blisteringly fast" speeds to everyone else and not just those in MDU. He should chose his words more carefully since his apologists might get the wrong impression and think that 25mbps wont be enough and expect "108mbps".
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • And not to mention

      Hubert, 1Gbps is only the tip of the iceberg. Over a standard single strand of fibre, over 7200Kms, Alcatel Lucent have hit 31Tbps. Yep, that's Tera, not Giga or Mega.

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/07/alcatel-lucent-breaks-record-with-31tbps-over-a-single-fibre-optic-cable.html

      That's with standard fibre. Some specially designed fibre has now hit 99.7% of the speed of light at 73.7Tbps.

      http://www.extremetech.com/computing/151498-researchers-create-fiber-network-that-operates-at-99-7-speed-of-light-smashes-speed-and-latency-records

      Fibre is definitely where we need to be.

      How many minutes to go???
      Ramrunner-5dd3e
      • Yes, those records are known to me and are very impressive Ramrunner, it'll be interesting to see what further advancements are made in the next few years with fibre.

        1596991 minutes to go :)
        Hubert Cumberdale
    • And not to mention

      Hubert, 1Gbps is only the tip of the iceberg. Over a standard single strand of fibre, over 7200Kms, Alcatel Lucent have hit 31Tbps. Yep, that's Tera, not Giga or Mega.

      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2013/07/alcatel-lucent-breaks-record-with-31tbps-over-a-single-fibre-optic-cable.html

      That's with standard fibre. Some specially designed fibre has now hit 99.7% of the speed of light at 73.7Tbps.

      http://www.extremetech.com/computing/151498-researchers-create-fiber-network-that-operates-at-99-7-speed-of-light-smashes-speed-and-latency-records

      Fibre is definitely where we need to be.

      How many minutes to go???
      Ramrunner-5dd3e
    • More Turn-bulls**t

      Why do people still listen to Turnbull's propaganda?
      From the outset it was painfully obvious to anyone with half a clue that his "Faster & Cheaper 25Mbps for All by 2016" stamps him either as a blithering idiot or blatant liar.
      Take your pick!
      grump-a1eeb
  • Sooo, what was the worst speed?

    A single good result, excellent.

    What is the minimum?

    What is the average?

    What diameter of coper was it?

    How old was the copper?

    When I want to order a 400/150 or 1000/400 service who will pay for the upgrade?

    If I can only get 50/20 and need 100/40 who will pay for the upgrade?
    Paul Krueger
  • take the results...

    for what they are... Don't expect anything from them other than they show you are able to deliver a decent max bandwidth in a much shorter install time.

    150m of internal wiring is definitely going to give better results than over 400m of smaller gauge external wiring. That you can be sure of. Hopefully that's realised by the powers that be, and soon.
    Andrew Hargrave
    • And how was the test done?

      For all we know, there were two brand new apartments and each got 54mbps. Or maybe just one apartment got 108mbps? What happens with 50 apartments?
      The Guv
  • All decoration.

    Turnbull will say anything to make us believe we are getting a very good product with his fraudband. I bet any bad results found whilst testing will be kept well and truly to themselves.
    You couldn't possibly believe anything this lot tell us because most of it is doctored up to suite them or just lies.
    I wonder if Malcolm wraps his cheap and nasty Christmas presents in expensive wrapping paper to make everyone think they are getting something very nice because that's what he is doing with the NBN.
    Lastofthegoodguys
  • Sorry Mal...

    ... but simply can't trust you anymore, irrespective of the artificial parameters used for testing this, after you lose your credibility with mates with benefits appointed to 'review' committees (Murdoch's shill Ergas ffs??!!) it's gone for good son...
    btone-c5d11
  • FttB is the smart solution

    FttB is the smart solution for all the older MDU's - most apartments will be within 100 meters of the "node", which is where vectoring and G.Fast become "doable".

    It's the rest of the network that'll be a travesty.
    Tinman_au
  • 'Blistering'?

    The only thing blistering should be Turnbull's ears, after nearly all experts (tech, not political) have rightly criticised his foolish decision to can FTTP for the network and use FTTN (or nothing).

    The Turnbull policy will end up costing just as much as the real thing. Worse, it'll condemn Australia to a third-rate system for many more years.
    anonymousI
  • Time to buy Telstra & Optus Shares?

    Wonder if there will be much left of Turnbull's $41B budget to buy all those Nodes once he completes those 'Negotiations' to impose his wish list on his potential competitor's networks?
    grump-a1eeb
  • FTTB = FTTN

    FTTB uses VDSL to the premises so it's still FTTN.
    Old EE
    • FTTB ≠ FTTN

      It does not use a mm of Telstra copper, fibre goes direct to the premises. that makes it FTTP, FTTB variant.
      Brewer-b1e4a
  • OK then

    So, now all I need is to build a basement for my house....
    Mr_Q_
  • $20 says...

    that Turnbull had one end of the 150m of copper plugged into fibre with the other end hooked up to his laptop!
    The Guv
  • HMMM

    http://www.afr.com/p/technology/threat_rollout_nbn_as_optus_plans_xbNlTd7VT1hmFWnW1SoddP

    "But analysts have warned of the technical difficulties in having multiple telcos offering fibre-to-the-building technology in the same apartment block.

    Mr McClelland acknowledged that a situation in which TPG, Optus and NBN Co were all offering the same service could make for a worse experience for consumers.

    “You’ve really got to consider the mix of technologies in that building and, if you roll out a new technology, are you causing interference for everybody else and causing them a crap experience,” he said. “I think those factors weigh into whether we should do it or not.”

    “We’re a little bit more cautious but we’re looking at it.”
    Abel Adamski