Turnbull promises more NBN nodes to get 25Mbps

Turnbull promises more NBN nodes to get 25Mbps

Summary: In areas where premises cannot get 25Mbps download speeds, a Coalition government would install smaller nodes closer to premises to fill the gap.


Additional nodes would be rolled out to premises in fibre-to-the-node (FttN) areas that can't get 25Mbps speeds under the Coalition's National Broadband Network (NBN), Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

In the Coalition's alternative NBN policy released last month, the party indicated that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 nodes would be required across Australia. These would connect the fibre to the existing copper line for the 71 percent of premises getting fibre to the node under the policy.

Turnbull has promised that every premises will have access to at least 25Mbps by 2016, but the quality of the copper network and its ability to deliver those speeds has caused some to question whether those speeds would be attainable.

Speaking on the OurSay Communications Debate hosted by ZDNet this morning, Turnbull said that NBN Co would be instructed to make sure that those speeds can be delivered, and flagged extra nodes to achieve that.

"What you have to do is a calculation, a line speed test, and it may be that in some areas, what you would need to do is take a smaller node out further into the field. This might be a device that is small enough to fit into a Telstra pit, for example," he said. "What some telcos refer to as fibre-extension models."

Turnbull indicated that there would be smaller nodes connected to larger nodes for premises that are more than 1.5 kilometres from the larger node.

In response, Conroy said that it would be an arduous task to test every connection, and that Turnbull was making a blind assumption that only 9 percent of premises would need to have copper lines replaced.

"Malcolm makes a blind assumption only 9 percent of Australia's copper lines will need to be replaced. There's no science or rationale behind that," he said.

"Malcolm is just behaving like an incumbent telco. They just want to sweat the copper as much as they can. It has got up to a AU$1 billion price tag just to maintain. What an incredibly short-sighted piece of public policy."

He said that Turnbull is putting in billions of dollars into an FttN proposal that would ultimately end up being fibre to the premises (FttP) in the future.

When pushed on what upload speeds the FttN network would guarantee, Turnbull said it would be a decision for NBN Co.

"The ratio of download to upload is a commercial decision future NBN Co would make, but there is no technical barrier to having very high upload speeds," he said.

"I agree there is more uploading going up because of the cloud."

But he said that in residential areas, the upload to download ratio is becoming more asymmetrical, as more and more people consume video over the internet. This was a claim that Conroy rejected.

"It's like a wooden stake to a vampire because his network cannot deliver the sort of upload capacity that a fibre-to-the-premise network can," he said. "Stop thinking about just downloading movies, Malcolm; this is about uploading. This is about the capacity for people to distribute their own work."

Questioned on whether a future Coalition government would, if in power after September, be able to renegotiate with Telstra to get a hold of the copper line between the node and the premises for no additional charge, Turnbull said he is "very confident" of reaching an agreement quickly, without an additional charge.

Conroy said Telstra would be tough in negotiations.

"Telstra will be as straightforward with Mr Turnbull if he was to be communications minister as they were with us. They'll take a very tough negotiating position on behalf of their shareholders, as they should," he said.

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.

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  • Compare to previous response

    Turnbull's previous response was that Fibre would be installed to replace any faulty lines.

    My question was intended to clarify the situation with the lines being faulty within the customper premises. This was an opportunity for Turnbull to simply say 'Yes we will replace faulty in premises wiring' or 'No if the fault is not within the Telstra owned copper it is the customer's responsibility'

    In fact the answer given not only showed a complete lack of consideration of the problem with in-premises copper but it seemed to leave out the option of running fiber to premises where the line was bad.

    I am now less informed than I was before the answer as to how this will guarantee anything.
    • Turnbull lying again?

      Yeah i was under the impression if the copper couldn't do 25M the line would be upgraded to fibre.

      More lies from this decietful, disgusting, disgraceful and arrogant little man.

      The debate i believe most very very poorly moderated, Turnbull wouldn't answer questions and was let off the hook by the moderator...
  • Wow, even more wasteful nodes. But it is good to see even Turnbull realise just how inadequate the Abbott plan really is, if they already know they'll have to install more nodes makes you wonder why they don't just do the sensible thing and install fibre to begin with but keep in mind the coalition clowns are notorious for half-arsing things and doing everything as inefficiently as ineffectively as possible.

    And keep in mind this is $30+ billion of taxpayers money wasted all for a piddling 25mbps with upload speeds so low they won't mention it in their "plan" rather defer to NBNco for "advice". Curious that they would accept an NBNco decision here of all things but not the advice that says fibre is the right way forward. I think the coalition clowns just want to put this one in the "too hard" basket. Allergy to hard work you see.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • No real surprises (which you called in that other thread)

      And it's a pity it got to a bit of a slagging match near the end there. MT's problem now is that after years of hyperbole, it's his argument to lose. We know what we're getting under Labor's NBN, but there are an awful lot of assumptions being made by the Coalition who have promised much less for a similar scale of investment and don't have the ability to back their statements up with proof and figures at the moment.

      Good to see some meaningful debate finally though, instead of soundbites for a change but I was disappointed that it was mostly Conroy arguing his NBN is better (it is) while MT kept arguing that its way behind scheduled (it is). Different sides of the coin and it would have been great to see each point debated separately. Conroy didn't really seem to address the rollout speed issues and Turnbull was clearly stumbling when prodded on the technical inferiority of his plan.

      I'd be the first to cheer if the Coalition finished the Labor NBN faster and cheaper, and its clear that only partisanship and ego are preventing MT & TA from admitting something Labor was doing is actually good. This, and this alone, is an insight into the mindset of the Coalition and is a very good yardstick of character heading into September.
      • You can't finish it cheaper

        hence the alternative plan. The only option would have been fibre to the boundary; opening up more cans of worms. This is why NBNCo is failing; there's no magic solution to it. The "P" in FTTP is expensive and time consuming; avoided with FTTN ("N" to "P" already present; copper, HFC, some cases Fibre).

        In what way is Labor's NBN good in reality? Billion spent, very little to show for it; promises and spin for the future.
        Richard Flude
        • In the reality where they dont own the copper

          You seem to have missed the fact that the government no longer owns Telstra, and it's copper. Every other FTTN roll-out in the world is done by incumbents. Where a new network is needed that isn't done by an incumbent, they use fibre (82% of them in fact).
          • Missed nothing

            Nothing you wrote has anything to do with last mile connection; it's challenges and cost.

            A "new network" isn't needed; the plan is to leverage existing infrastructure. The Liberals require successful negotiation with Telstra, and I'd imagine they'll be doing the work. Competitive wholesale access to any network infrastructure (HFC, Fibre, FTTN, fixed wireless) is a precondition.

            FTTN vs FTTP costs and speed of deployment are known from many real world examples. FTTN is not only cheaper, but faster to deploy. Argue the need for 100% fibre, but denying the cost/speed reality is delusional.
            Richard Flude
          • HHmm

            Yes, Richard. For NOW.

            Yes, FTTN is cheaper and faster to deploy.

            If you're looking at today.

            If you're looking at having to upgrade to FttP in the next 10 years, which I guarantee you we will, doing the FttN, then FttP later is simply far longer in construction and far more expensive than doing it right now.

            In the meantime we'll be paying to maintain copper (costs of that have been widely publicised), and throwing away 60,000 (probably a lot more) node equipment when we upgrade.

            Richard, I don't know how old you are, and if you're in your 80s or 90s I get it, but some of us here are just hitting mid-life and are thinking about the future for ourselves, and our children.
          • Why the guarantee?

            FTTP for 93% of Australians is not a certainty; no one able to identify a single application requiring it.

            Are you prepared to back your guarantee with $60+b?

            Other technologies will continue to improve, FTTP option exists for those requiring it.

            Also you ignore 1) time value of money, 2) revenue generated in the interim from a cheaper faster, rollout. Predicting 10 years of technological change is fanciful.

            The think of the children argument; how cute. Those in our 40s have heard it all before.
            Richard Flude
          • Who runs copper for future options?

            Telcos have been phasing out copper for decades.

            No telco runs copper lines as part of their own infrastructure, they run fibre even for voice because it's cheaper and can be upgraded. Copper can't.

            "Other technologies will continue to improve" yeah and still be more expensive to maintain and severly limited whilst increasing support costs. How much time do you think ISPs spend answering calls related to copper quality?

            Telstra has just tested a 100x speed increase on it's Sydney to Melbourne fibre. 995km and speed upgrade to Terabit by swapping a line card!

            This successful test means they can roll out 100x capacity upgrades across their whole fibre network. All this because they switched to fibre decades ago.

            You really don't have a leg to stand on as far as technology or economics goes.

            And right now Turnbull's position on testing lines rules out his cost savings argument anyway.
          • "FTTP option exists for those requiring it."

            Because Fluddy this has been explained to you many times. If I buy a fibre connection I require others to have a fibre connection too. A fibre connection on it's own has little value unless others are connecting a comparable speeds. Work it out.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Sure for you p2p illegal movie swapping

            Real work is done using servers, in data centres. These have high speed connections to the Internet already (not using NBNCo fibre).

            If you had any experience you'd have worked it work.
            Richard Flude
          • Its not about p2p

            Why does everyone opposed to FTTP only think about p2p file sharing? Open your mind and embrace the wonders on the modern internet!

            Having FTTP isnt about how much you can download, I currently have a 2.5Mb/s connection and can download fine, it just takes a while. The problem is that I cant do anything else with it.

            Having FTTP is about the speed at which you can transfer data for both UPLOAD and DOWNLOAD.
            As an example I am studying IT, I have a couple virtual machines setup at home to learn on. When having issues it would be great to just be able to remote into my home computer from class and show the teacher exactly what is happening.
            Rather then carry around a USB with all my Uni work that I can loose or forget I could just pull it from my home NAS and then upload it in seconds at the end of the class.

            With FTTP there is no 'up to' or 'minimum' speeds, you pay for a speed and that is what you get. With FTTN you dont know what anyone will get till its tested and it could still be complete crap. Unless Turnbull has invented a new VDSL that can match the UPLOAD of fiber then he is installing a system that is only doing half the job needed.
          • Listen to the real world case I used

            Father wants to watch football - this will be over broadband except right now he can't get decent broadband. Nor can he get cable for Foxtel and a satellite dish is not really workable either.

            Football in HD for the large screen TV he may buy now is 5Mbps clear uninterrupted stream - and cant be downloaded over 2 hours or anything like that.

            He gets 2.5Mbps on a good day now. He may get 5mbps on VDSL2+ he may not.

            If he buys a TV next year it will need 20Mbps to get the quality of the TV just to watch footy.

            So if he gets a guaranteed 25Mbps (which is not clear he will get without shelling out for fibre upfront) then he will be using up the bandwidth to watch TV

            Meanwhile his wife who will be working on the computer will be wanting some bandwidth.

            And his son who is chool age and will be heading towards high school years will be wanting to use the internet for his homework.

            And maybe the son may do what almost all people do now and watch something on TV whilst doing his homework - and that may be coming over the internet also - at 2.5Mbps (Foxtel SD) up to 20Mbps.

            So this real world case - and ordinary people need above 25Mbps.

            File sharing needs less bandwidth than watching live Footy.

            Downloading movies needs less bandwidth than watching live Footy.

            And before anyone thinks this is unreasonable - this very application with UHD TV is in testing now and yes the current NBN is engineered to support it - you could watch live footy at 20Mbps (or more) on the NBN with no internet or with 12Mbps internet or 100Mbps internet.

            Stop using stupid examples made up - and start talking to real people.
          • Wow, so this is what Fluddy thinks the internet is all about. Very enlightening.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Not about pirating..

            I have heard this so many times. The need for faster, reliable, future infrastructure is not for pirating.. hell the current internet has enough bandwidth for that.

            Everyone having a reliable connection & high speeds open up a lot of possibilities. Imagine in the future where all TV is streamed from the internet? as one example.

            Either way there is no denying that our bandwidth requirements are only going to be increasing over time, we are already at the limits of the current copper network.
        • An alternative plan would offer an equivalent.

          Turnbull's suggestion suggest that he's constructing a Heath-Robinson Network. You can google that. It won't be any better than ADSL and will have both the distance issues of ADSL, and the asymmetric bandwidth issues of ADSL Fail, fail, fail, Turnbull, and you, Richard, for being an apologist for this.
          • No; it would offer an alternative

            People want improved internet; not 100% fibre. No one is claiming the Liberal alternative is "equivalent" to the Labor plan; the Labor plan costs too much and is failing in its delivery.

            Clearly you know nothing of FTTN technologies, nor a Liberal plan that is much broader than FTTN. I'm not apologising for anyone, not even your ignorance.
            Richard Flude
          • Look

            If 25Mbps TRULY is the minimum we'll be getting. I will live, I will get by, nobody's gonna die.

            The upload speed is going to be the greatest problem.

            I have NO idea what they're going to do in my area. Should be interesting. To guarantee 25Mbps, they WILL HAVE TO PULL NEW INFRASTRUCTURE. Our lines down here are pair gained or on a RIM, so there's no way MT can run 25Mbps VDSL off a node. Our whole suburb is like this.

            Are we all going to get fibre? Under MT I don't believe it. Some other technology that will bring these speeds? Doubt it.

            I don't think MT knows just how crap the copper is and how badly Telstra has neglected true upgrades in favour of cheap and nasty solutions to getting extra voice lines. All about the bottom line.

            Now he wants to re-use this stuff. He's in for a shock.
          • Copper (where required) is used for the last mile

            Yes it requires additional infrastructure (hence the price tag). These issues are commonly handled in FTTN installations.

            The FTTN can operate in parallel with a RIM (to support existing services) or replaced by. AML customers likely require new fibre (or HFC or fixed wireless or ...).
            Richard Flude