Turnbull's HFC plans 'doomed to fail': Industry

Turnbull's HFC plans 'doomed to fail': Industry

Summary: An alliance of Telstra's competitors has said that Shadow Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to use existing HFC cable instead of NBN fibre won't work.


The Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC) has said that Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plans to use the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks as part of his broadband alternative to the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be doomed to fail.

Speaking on ABC's Lateline program last night, Turnbull said that he would seek to renegotiate with Telstra over its HFC network, to use it as part of his broadband plan that would likely see a scale-back of the NBN rollout from a fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) approach to a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network.

Areas with HFC networks, which cover roughly 30 percent of Australia, would not get the Coalition's version of the NBN first, Turnbull said.

"An ideal scenario would be that you would — well, what you would certainly do is you would not prioritise areas where HFC is. You wouldn't be overbuilding the HFC areas in the near term, because they're getting very good service already," he said.

But Turnbull's plan may be short lived. The CCC, comprising Macquarie Telecom, iiNet, NextGen, AAPT, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, and Adam Internet, said in a release that the policy would be "doomed to fail" if HFC areas were neglected.

"These comments ignore the reality that such a proposal would mean that for 30 percent of the population, there would be no effective competitive broadband market," CCC chairman Matt Healy said in a statement.

The CCC said that HFC cannot be made available for wholesale access by a competitor such as Telstra, and would not offer the same capacity to wholesale customers that Telstra itself would have access to.

In a statement this afternoon, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy questioned whether some 2.7 million households would be left out under Turnbull's plan.

"If the answer is yes, it would result in about 30 per cent of Australians having no effective competition in the broadband market, locking in higher prices," he said.

Turnbull, in his own statement this afternoon, said that his NBN would be extended to cover HFC areas in time. He said that the CCC's main concern is removing Telstra's advantage, and did not consider the cost of the network.

"Their only objective is to eliminate Telstra as a wireline infrastructure operator so that they can compete on what they believe will be a level playing field," he said.

"The competitive carriers might also reflect that while in an NBN world Telstra will have to compete on a 'level playing field', it will do so fortified by the many billions of taxpayers' dollars it has received as the price for it agreeing to Labor's NBN."

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU


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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  • Backpedalling like crazy

    Read the ABC transcript.
    They always have been obsessed with Murdoch/Telstra's cheap media delivery platform.

    Under pressure they will say anything to get power, big backpedal now before the election, after when in power different story especially with the puppet master deceiving the public.

    I will stick to their plans being more expensive as after their CBA's, Redesign, renegotiate the contracts( They stated won't cancel but will re negotiate where possible), cancell existing equipment contracts and tender for new equipment contracts , touch their toes for Telstra, assess the copper, they will be running all over the place like drunken sailors doing underserved and black spot areas (most needing backhaul so running fibres often many kilometers) passing 10's of thousands of premises rather than building out in a structured planned efficient manner.

    Talk about Mickey mouse
    Abel Adamski
    • And for what??

      Power and POLITICS
      Bugger the Nation and the future economy.
      That second rate FTTN lottery will decay as the copper degrades and will be too expensive to upgrade.
      So enjoy the Pyrrhic Victory as what you will get is all you will ever have unless you are wealthy which will destroy most of the benefit to the economy and our future
      Abel Adamski
      • And

        "Power and POLITICS
        Bugger the Nation and the future economy."

        Exactly, though you left out "Making sure Telstra retains it's advantage". I guess the LNP do feel at least some responsibility for the poor old T2 buyers...
  • Noticed all the religious zealots opposed to the NBN are avoiding this article. I'm not surprised this sort of thing is like acid to them.

    Anyway, it appears we can conclude a few basic facts considering this new HFC info:

    1. The proper NBN plan is about moving forward.
    2. The coalitions gimped version is about standing still or moving backwards.
    3. Turnbull wants to tell you what speed you need.
    4. The NBN is about choice and letting you decide what speed you need.
    5. People in HFC areas will be screwed... but tbh I think everyone would be screwed with their patchwork mess.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Yes interesting isn't it HC...

      A good news NBN story attracts the FUDsters in force to try anything to talk it down, but when the alternative plan (we keep asking them to compare to the NBN but they refuse) has such a damming article they suspiciously have no comment...

      Oh just from the LOL files, I see following alain's (known as advocate here) last half year banning in '12, he has been banned once again for a further 10 months over at Delimiter...ROFL.

      And he had the hide to previously refer to me as the multiple banned poster because I was banned short term on a few occasions, simply for telling him a few home truths...PRICELESS!!!
      • I actually said to Renai in an email last year that I don't endorse banning but the multiple banned poster formerly known as alian is a special case. I figured it was a waste of time responding to him other than a copy/paste sentence due to his irrational and militant behaviour. Seems no one else can reason with him either, but regardless in some ways it is a great loss if you think about it. I've said before I like it all out in the open where everyone can see the exact types opposed to the NBN... meh I'm sure there are plenty left to take his place :-)
        Hubert Cumberdale
    • Hooby

      Labor is going to lose.........sleep well
  • Yes...

    All voices need to be heard but when one always decides to go the childish tongue poking route, as he always did/does, in an otherwise adult, rational discussion, well...???