Quigley: NBN Co to deliver 1Gbps

Quigley: NBN Co to deliver 1Gbps

Summary: Moments after shadow Minister for Communications Tony Smith criticised the government and NBN Co for proceeding without a business plan, NBN Co chief outlined his plan for business: ubiquitous 1Gbps services.

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TOPICS: NBN, Broadband
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Moments after shadow Minister for Communications Tony Smith criticised the government and NBN Co for proceeding without a business plan, NBN Co chief outlined his plan for business: ubiquitous 1Gbps services.

Mike Quigley

Mike Quigley, NBN Co chief.
(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)

"We will have one consistent set of products across the whole national footprint. And that means consistent ubiquitous service up to one gigabit per second (Gbps)," Quigley told the Australian Telecommunications User Group conference today, held at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney.

"Everyone keeps talking about 100Mbps. But that's obviously when we're talking about residents. For business we are allowing for a certain percentage in our dimensioning to structure point-to-point services up to 1Gbps."

Quigley later explained that this capability would be built in under-serviced areas, as opposed to Sydney's central business district which is sufficiently covered. He gave the example that Commonwealth Bank's Sydney headquarters might have a fibre connection; however, its branches often lacked such infrastructure.

"Even in large places — down in Hobart — I got people to show me which buildings were 'fibred'. I was quite surprised at how few there were. Sydney, of course, is fairly different," he said.

"In the short term, we believe business has the most to gain ... I can assure you that we really are focused on what is important for business."

Another benefit for business would be that retail service providers under the NBN would be able to more easily guarantee "committed speeds".

"We're looking at a guaranteed, reliable bandwidth on access links. We are going to have extremely high availability across the network; we are going to be making sure we align restoration and response times; we will have the potential to add redundancy where a customer requires it; and the ability to provide high speed symmetrical services," he said.

Quigley's comments, which might cast the NBN in a new light for the business community, followed Smith's damning the government for failing to hold to the precepts that the same community holds dear — forming a business plan before starting a venture.

The Smithster

Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith
(Credit: Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)

"To embark on this sort of project out of the ashes of the failed NBN without any cost-benefit analysis or any business plan is reckless," said Smith. "It is not something we are apologetic about. But importantly, it is not a view that we express solely. It is a view that has been echoed by so many business analysts and business councils, and the Productivity Commission," said Smith.

It was the first time Smith has talked at any length about the NBN Co or the telecommunications sector, and he took the opportunity to remind delegates that the Liberal's $1 billion OPEL plan, killed by Labor after it won the election, would have delivered benefits to regional Australia already.

"I think governments are very bad at picking technology. This is not a political point, but we are bad at picking technology for a one-size-fits-all approach," he said.

"The Rudd Government likes to talk about speeds — very high speeds — as if these newer and higher speeds will be delivered for the same price as the speeds of today. And of course, as you know, that's not the case. Analysts have rightly pointed out there has been some debate about how those costs may be. The one certainty is that it will be significantly higher than what people pay today for a similar service."

Quigley begged to differ on this point. NBN Co was going to price with reference to existing services. "Nothing else makes much sense," he said.

"Forget all this stuff about $200 wholesale access prices. Don't worry. We will not be pricing at those sort of levels."

NBN Co, said Quigley, would be assessing the economics of retail service providers and asking itself how it could give superior performance at around entry-level prices. Flexibility would be key, with people only paying for what they value. "And there will be modest charges for incremental services, for example, upstream speed increases," he said.

Quigley, however, refrained from outlining exact wholesale pricing it plans to offer since it will be required to negotiate with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Topics: NBN, Broadband

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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35 comments
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  • Act Of A Desperate Criminal Government

    Govt cornered keeps changing scope to manoeuver Telstra into a deal.

    The desperate criminal Government's new move that completely destroys the business of many other telco's that provide fibre.

    This is more evidence of policy on the run and stupidity in an attempt to cover its arse and push through a failure of an idea.

    Rudd and Conroy are megalomaniac criminals.
    The ends do not justify the means.
    And the ends in this case are also just feable in face of of so many greater needs going begging for society.
    anonymous
  • Another Reality check

    hmm. When has Telstra invested in fibre?
    It certainly hasn't in many years. It is an absolute scandal that many urban areas and rural centres have not been provided with fibre infrastructure because one company sits on its ass for years and winges about the ACCC and having to compete with others.
    What is criminal? A company that makes money from doing nothing to improve telecommunications infrastructure in years (ok, maybe the Nhullunbuy/Gove fibre link)?
    Or a government that tries to take action?

    If the legislation fails in the senate, I suggest the government pass legislation to mandate telstra to upgrade its copper network to fibre. To abolish small pair-gains systems in the bush and action CNIs within 6 weeks of a temporary repair.
    anonymous
  • Anyone

    anyone could have rolled out fibre . Oh but you want telstra shareholders to pay for your fibre network do you.
    Let singtel lay out fibre and telstra can piggyback acess at low prices.
    If the government want fibre let it lay it itself and stop bullying telstra shareholders to come on board.
    anonymous
  • Act of a forward thinking Government

    Can't anyone understand the importance of this project to Australia's future? We have to meet and beat the rest of the world in this type of technology otherwise we will become an economic backwater. Investment decisions are already made based on the availability of bandwidth and high speed networks.
    The OPEL concept was a farce. Most regional areas would've had wireless, which as everyone knows is okay until there are a lot of users at once.
    In 5 years time the cost would be forgotten as we would be reaping the benefits and productivity improvements that this project will bring. The infrastructure should always belong to the Govt. Telstra can stay as they are and continue retailing their copper network as well as retailing on the fibre network. Bring it on.
    anonymous
  • Great until

    The filter goes live and stuffs up the speeds.
    anonymous
  • 1gpbps cable already exits

    Telstra could upgrade their cable nodes & do this already, as it's done in Europe, Hong Kong & Singapore (they have 1gbps over cable). Yes it's a shared service, but you still get the high speed burst rate & it's not likely that the NBN will be a non-shared fibre connection.
    anonymous
  • Forward Thinking

    Finally, someone with vision: The Dickster!
    anonymous
  • Already exists? I don't see it!

    And what about the people living in the country, Anonymous? Well, at least Optus is going to soon have 100Mbps in more than 1 city.
    anonymous
  • When?

    I work for Telstra and have been installing fibre for businesses, schools, hospitals, governments, emergency services and the like for the last 13 years. At speeds greater than 1 gigabit, most are 10 gbpts or higher.

    We are currently installing new 144 and 288 IEN (inter exchange network) and CAN (customer access network) all over Sydney and regional NSW.

    So before you bag Telstra get your facts right.

    Haven't seen optus, aapt or others campaigning against Telstra instal terribly much fibre.

    Ok we haven't done fibre to the home but maybe that could be because of the current access legislation that forces Telstra to give access to its network for low wholesale prices.
    anonymous
  • Will they wholesale ?

    Will optus be making their network available for others in the industry to buy wholesale space on the network?

    Easy answer no!!!!!
    anonymous
  • Hypocrite!

    Does Telstra make their HFC Cable Network available for others in the industry to buy wholesale space on the network?

    Easy answer no!!!!!
    anonymous
  • 1 Gig is old school

    Parts of the Melbourne Wireless network now exceed 1 gigabit. The NBN must be switched fibre ethernet or else it will be obsolete before it ever gets turned on.
    anonymous
  • Here we go again!

    THE NBN IS FUTUREPROOF AND UPGRADABLE!

    The NBN has no speed limit. Simply upgrade the equipment on both ends and the NBN would be capable of 1Gbps, 2Gbps, 5, 10, 100, 1000, or even 10,000Gbps!!!!!!

    The NBN will only be obsolete if you can find another technology that can transfer data faster than light-speed.
    anonymous
  • Hypocrite1!

    Maybe they could (heaven forbid) lead by example and open up their network for access and that may well force Telstra to open theirs up.

    Why should Telstra be the first ones to do anything. If optus is such a good company maybe they should lead by example.
    anonymous
  • The Cost

    And the cost for 10,000Gbps would be?

    We don't even know what price we are likely to be paying for the theoretical 100mbs, or even 20mbs.

    From a home internet perspective the 5mbps I have on adsl2 is sufficient for myself and the kids to use. The only problem at the moment is my isp uses optus for backhaul.
    anonymous
  • Hypocrite 2

    Who said Optus was good or Telstra bad? That's your normal assumption of anyone who doesn't laud Telstra.

    The reason why Telstra are expected to show a little leadership is because they are the incumbent and have received the benefits incumbents around the globe also have.

    You blokes love to talk about Australian and unAustralian. So why doesn't Telstra stop being unAustralian and just do it for Australians?

    Instead you bag Singapores's Optus but still expect them to be more Australian than Telstra by leading for Australians, get real...
    anonymous
  • Cost

    And the cost for 10,000Gbps would be?

    The cost would be acceptable for a corporation or school/uni with 1000's of computers on site and/or if you can afford it at home then go for it. If you dont want faster speeds at home then good for you, some of us do.

    YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
    anonymous
  • NBN- The PLan

    It is just tiresome to listen to the business community and it's representatives In the parliament or through the press - Murcdoch anyone?) talk about "business plans etc. in relation to the NBN". They choose to only see through one prism - the business one. The fact is this is a national infrastructure program. It is, as the economists say, a natural monopoly. We did not build the PMG (telephony for the youngsters) on a business plan.
    What a dishonest discussion.
    anonymous
  • re: NBN - The Plan

    Are you suggesting that we just go ahead with no idea of the costs or benefits of the scheme?
    If the prices are too high then it will be under-utilised, especially if there are adequate alternatives available (ADSL, ADSL 2).
    Alternatively, if the prices are set artificially low then it becomes a huge money-pit that the taxpayers will forever be bailing out.
    Either way, I'd like to know whether I will be up for an opt-in (i.e. I can try to justify the cost if I need it) or just another tax-hike or service reduction to cover it.
    That's what a valid business plan will tell us and, judging by the government's reluctance to release one, I think we will be heading for the latter scenario.
    anonymous
  • Reality Checker...

    The true megalomaniac here has always been Telstra, created by monopolist position over 60+ years. Since being changed to a private company this organisation has done almost everything it can to avoid fulfilling obligations that came with becoming private.

    Do they have a point? Perhaps.
    Do they have the right? I think not. They are criminals.

    As for Rudd & Conroy being megalomaniacs...you tool! They are attempting to give Australia something forward thinking & hopefully positive. The last Liberal Gov't took away finance to so many needing organisations including schools (except private ones), I wonder who the megalomaniac really was.
    anonymous