Turnbull shows off Sydney VDSL2 as NBN example

Turnbull shows off Sydney VDSL2 as NBN example

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered up an example of the types of download speeds NBN users on VDSL2 should expect under a potential Coalition government.


A resident in an inner-west Sydney apartment block was able to receive download speeds of 49Mbps and 38Mbps up in a demonstration of a VDSL fibre-to-the-node connection that Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said will be similar to what National Broadband Network (NBN) users will get under a Coalition government.

(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

The resident, Paul Shepherd, was said to be accessing a 100Mbps down, 40Mbps up service through internet service provider (ISP) Internode over Openetworks' wholesale open-access VDSL2 single-line network in the Sydney Park Village apartment blocks in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Erskineville. The network is open to all ISPs, but currently 12 ISPs have signed access agreements with the organisation.

Despite being on a 100Mbps plan, in the demonstration to the media, Shepherd was able to get a peak download speed of 49Mbps and a peak upload speed of 38Mbps.

Shepherd's apartment is approximately 500 metres from the node installed, with a second node about 100 metres away from his apartment in the village, according to Openetworks managing director Michael Sparkman, but Turnbull claimed that the speed had been affected by contention in Internode's network.

"He didn't quite get to 100[Mbps] on the download, no doubt due to the contention in [Internode's] network," Turnbull said.

"The speeds that a customer gets will depend, among other things, on the amount of capacity their [provider] is supplying back into the internet."

iiNet, the owner of Internode, clarified to ZDNet after this story was published that the resident was on a 50Mbps download speed, 20Mbps upload speed plan. His service had just been syncing higher than expected, according to iiNet.

Turnbull has faced increasing attacks from Labor over the course of the election campaign for not specifying exact upload speeds that users can expect on a Coalition NBN if the party wins government after Saturday. Turnbull did not say how quickly suburbs like Erskineville could expect to see their broadband connection upgraded under the Coalition, but under Labor's proposal, the suburb is due to have construction commence by June 2015.

The upgrade to Sydney Park Village took three weeks to complete, and so far, around 40 premises of the 850 in the apartment block have expressed an interest in taking up a VDSL service. The per-premises cost for upgrade is AU$200 for Openetworks, and to go to a vectored or bonded DSL product, which would offer even higher speeds, would cost between AU$400 and AU$500 per premises through swapping out the DSLAM for a specific apartment block. Sparksman said that providing fibre to each premises in the apartment block would be around AU$5,000.

"If we were to provide, as Labor has provided, a fibre-to-the-home solution, a buyer could order it, we could upgrade it, but it would cost a considerable amount of money to do so," Sparksman said.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 4.09.10 PM
(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

He said that much of the network equipment would need to be replaced, and it would be far more labour intensive.

"We'd be fibring through the car park, up through the rises, down through the corridors. You'd be doing repairs and maintenance to all the walls and ceilings," he said.

"At this point in time, there is no demand for it."

Sparksman said that the wholesale price for services on Openetworks is lower than NBN Co's present wholesale price. Currently, legislation prohibits so-called "cherry pickers" from building new high-speed broadband networks in profitable places to compete with the NBN unless it offers the same wholesale-only service offered by NBN Co. Turnbull said that if the Coalition wins the election, wholesale providers would still be able to compete with the NBN.

"We're not going to prevent competition with the NBN; we think that's something that certainly shouldn't be obstructed, as long as the competitors are common carriers and are providing a wholesale service, that is important," he said.

Openetworks was one of the major greenfields fibre providers to complain about NBN Co's intervention into that market, stating back in 2011 that by offering to install the fibre to new housing developments for free, NBN Co would be running the other providers out of business.

Updated at 9:15am AEST September 9 2013: Added information about the resident's service provided by iiNet, and clarified that the second node was 100 metres away

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
  • Hypocrisy of the coaltion clowns continues. First telling us that no one needs more than 25mbps but taking issue with "not quite getting to 100mbps". Seems Turnbull has decided to endorse FttP after all...
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Link please

      "No one needs more than 25mbps"

      Surprising given their plan provides for more.
      Richard Flude
      • Wow, you really haven't been paying attention have you?


        It certainty is surprising. Perhaps the coaltion clowns finally realise that faster speeds are required after all. Would explain why they are trying to flog a FttB solution as "shining example" of FttN. An exception rather than the rule.
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • Right, the quote doesn't say what you claim

          The article quotes Turnbull saying:

          ""We are absolutely confident 25 megs is going to be enough — more than enough — for the average household,"..."

          This was not your claim. The very next sentence goes on to describe options for higher data users; destroying your claim. I can count higher than 2, keep going;-)
          Richard Flude
          • LOL, destroyed nothing. Please try to keep up and read the whole article:

            "Abbott said 25Mbps would be enough for home usage"

            Turnbull should not be taking issue with not quite getting to 100mbps. He should say "well it's more than 25mbps and 25mbps is more than enough for anyone" Helps to be consistent if you want people to take you seriously. Apparently Abbott and Turnbull don't hence their constant spinning. Spin spin spin!
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • The article you quote says no such thing

            The Abbott quote from the article is:

            ""I am confident that it gives Australians what they need," Abbott said."

            He's confident that the coalition plan (of everyone min 25mbps by 2016, min 50mbps for 90% of fixed line users by 2019, plus FoD) would provide sufficent bandwidth.

            Again you demonstrate your ignorance.
            Richard Flude
          • Coalition clowns are telling us no one needs more than 25mbps. They are "confident that it gives Australians what they need". Thanks for confirming that. Seems I am right again.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • Don't feed the trolls

            You know he'll say anything to cover his arse, and then just start character assassination and abuse once he realises he is wrong.
          • Policy give Australians what they need

            Nowhere was "No one needs more than 25mbps" said. The very policy calls for higher speeds, identifies higher data users.
            Richard Flude
          • You have a reading comprehension problem

            The first line, the *HEADING* says "Abbott: 25Mbps broadband 'more than enough' for Australia"

            Abbott followed by a colon indicates that it is something he's saying. Learn to read.
          • That's a headline

            Not a quote. I suggests you learn to read a newspaper. When some says something it's put in double quotes.
            Richard Flude
          • You really shouldn't dare me like that.


            Tony Abbott said something rather silly at the launch of the Coalition’s broadband policy, and now it’s coming back to bite the party in its behind. Now Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is here to “clarify” the record.

            At the launch of the strategy, Tony Abbott said that the Coalition’s plan for 25Mbps speeds would be more than enough for the average household.

            Here’s the exact quote from a transcript hosted on Malcolm Turnbull’s site (emphasis our own):

            TONY ABBOTT:

            Just if I may add something. I mean, at 25 megs, you can simultaneously be downloading four HD TV programmes. So you can have four people in four different parts of the standard house watching the sport, a movie, whatever you might be doing. So we are absolutely confident that 25 megs is going to be enough, more than enough, for the average household.

            You can see him saying it in this video, too, in case there was a concern about the inflection used in the statement. Fast-forward to 35:50 to hear it or hit play on this video.

            or here

          • Right for the "average household"

            You're back where you started; the quote from the link posted by HC.

            This is not the same as "no one needs more than 25mbps"; HC's claim. Try again.
            Richard Flude
          • It's called paraphrasing. Now do you have an actual point to make or are you just here to nitpick and be needlessly pedantic.
            Hubert Cumberdale
          • You made a claim

            I asked for a link to support it (that on first reading was ridiculous). You've not supported your claim; now accusing me as pedantic.

            You could have said the claim was incorrect from the start and saved us the time. I see you still have not done so.
            Richard Flude
  • Contention ?

    The service referred to in this article is actually a 50/20 Mbps plan.

    But it's reportedly performing at 49/38 Mbps ? Sounds screwy, let's change the facts and make up a 'contention' problem.

    Politics. Election campaign.

    Steve Dalby
    iiNet Group
    • "Sounds screwy, let's change the facts and make up a 'contention' problem."

      We should expect this though. Coalition are notorious for this. I mentioned in another article spin would reach an all time high in the event of a coalition win. Apparently it has started earlier than expected. Turnbull will be looking for someone to blame when customers are not getting the speeds he is touting and it seems he has already picked a soft boiled target: The ISPs.
      Hubert Cumberdale
      • Cue mocking of OPENetwork's CEO

        Describing his solution as FTTN. What would he know compared to HC & RS (Alex);-)
        Richard Flude
        • I'm sorry, are you imagining things again?

          I don't believe my comment contained anything regarding Opennetworks or FttN.

          And why would it?

          Since we are talking about what is essentially a FttB solution for MDUs this is something that I am on record for endorsing. FttB = FttP. An established fact.

          Thanks for stopping by!
          Hubert Cumberdale
          • Using FTTN to describe FTTB is no longer an issue?

            Where are the links to Wikipedia? The squealing?

            The HC/RS backslapping of June, raised only a day ago as one of the times I've been wrong. An example of my lack of technical education; spouted over a delimiter.

            How times have changed, CEO makes the obvious call; people in this space would call it a node. Then they don't get their education from Wikipedia.
            Richard Flude