Quigley pans NBN, Telstra copper 'hysteria'

Quigley pans NBN, Telstra copper 'hysteria'

Summary: NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley has addressed the "hysteria" caused by recent claims that decommissioning Telstra's network in favour of the National Broadband Network will cause connected households multiple problems including forcing them to pay significant internal wiring costs.


NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley has addressed the "hysteria" caused by recent claims that decommissioning Telstra's network in favour of the National Broadband Network will cause connected households multiple problems including forcing them to pay significant internal wiring costs.

Just 3 per cent of Tasmanian customers connected to the NBN have changed their internal wiring and only 0.5 per cent have requested additional wiring, according to Quigley, while addressing the CommsDay Melbourne Congress.

"The reality is that in Tasmania, very, very few customers have decided to do anything about their internal wiring," he said. "Most people are using Wi-Fi anyway, and they can choose to take advantage of wiring if they decide; but when the NBN comes along and puts in a NTU [Network Termination Unit] there is no reason why any wiring has to be redone. What gets plugged into the DSL now, can be plugged into the NTU."

"It's simply not an area that we've heard any complaints about, or concerns," Quigley added.

Quigley's comments were aimed directly at recent claims by Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull, who has added the idea — first aired in an election-eve report in The Australian — to his arsenal of attacks on the NBN.

Turnbull recently took Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett to task on his decision to make the NBN an opt-out network in his state, panning the move as a change that "adds compulsion to Labor's existing plans to shut down competing fixed line technologies".

According to Quigley, however, while consumers might very well want to get their retail service providers (RSPs) to install additional access points, for example, a port in the lounge room to support IPTV services, there were lots of other options, such as running Ethernet over in-home electrical wiring.

"That $3000 to $6000 per home, I have no idea where it came from," Quigley said. "It isn't factual at all."

Pipe Networks CEO Bevan Slattery, also speaking at the Congress, was sceptical of Quigley's claims, noting it was still early days and that consumers hadn't yet been forced to choose between the NBN and their legacy Telstra connections. "Let's see those numbers when they cut the copper," he said. "Let's see the stats on how many people in those houses still have their phone line."

Quigley also addressed "media hysteria" around the decommissioning of Telstra's copper network.

"Some parts of the network are getting quite old," Quigley said. "Almost everywhere in the world where they are doing new fixed-line roll-outs, they are doing it in fibre. [Holding onto Australia's copper] makes no sense at all. [Assuming the deal with Telstra goes through] we will be decommissioning the copper with the fibre. End users get all the same services and then some, so I'm not so worried why they would be worried about that."

"We of course have to deal with the issues around retiring the copper and bringing in a new technology platform. But we have to take a realistic view of this: the fibre network will serve the nation for the next 50 years."

He also confirmed that NBN Co is on track to deliver a business case and three-year roll-out plan by the end of October.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Networking, Telcos, Telstra


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  • The comment by Mr Quigley about internal wiring seems strange. I wonder why businesses spend fortunes cabling to cat 6 and above, when any old telephone cabling will do to pass 100Mbit/sec?
    Blank Look
  • Visionary, you have missed the point of what Quigley has said. He was saying HOMES dont NEED to be rewired, as per Turnbull scaremongering. What works now will work on the NBN. If residents CHOOSE to do more, they can via various options, but they arent being forced to upgrade their wiring.
    The sad thing to come out of the article is that Bevan Slattery seems hell bent on calling Quigley a liar, despite the facts he presents. This isnt the first itme he has done it. Expected more from him really.
  • Thanks 'CommonSense", I did realise what he was saying, it is just we all saying how great 100M will be, but system performance is end to end. Poor internal wiring may impact overal performance, the point being unhappy customer who was sold 100M but gets less!
    Blank Look
  • Visionary - you don't need to upgrade the wiring in your house to achieve the 100mb that the NBN will be able to provide. When the ISP you choose installs the NBN connection at your house, the point where it is installed will receive the speed you pay for - if that is 100mb, then you will get 100mb.

    This is like ADSL now - you choose an ISP, install an ADSL modem, and at that point (the modem) you get the connection you pay for.

    If you wanted to share your NBN connection in your house, you could use a wifi router or have ethernet connections wired in where required - no different to how you would share an ADSL connection in the house.

    Just because you have a telephone line in the house now, does not mean you can share your ADSL connection everywhere the telephone line is - you still need a separate medium to share the ADSL connection once it is established in the house.

    What Quigley is saying is that if you want to share the NBN connection after the connection is already made in your house, then you have alternatives to having ethernet wired up at home - and those alternatives are nowhere near $6000-$8000 - a wifi router can be purchased brand new for under $60 :)
  • The lowest speed product offered by NBNCo is 25 Megabit. The highest speed sync speed available for ADSL2+ is approximately 24 megabit.

    The termination box the NBNco fibre feeds into will have an ADSL interface. So you can plug your existing ADSL modem into to the ONT and change nothing, and get the benefit of 24 Mbit/s while changing no wiring and buying no new equipment whatsoever. You can get a stable, reliable, accessible connection which can then be used by retail service providers for all sorts of things.

    By the way, the equipment being rolled out will support 1 Gbit/s out of the box. Though that would be a rather high end plan at this stage I suspect.
  • 802.11n wireless offers 300mbits with enough range to comfortably cover the average house at NBN speeds and better. Zero wiring required.

    It's scaremongering, pure and simple. Absolutely no merit to it whatsoever. No self-respecting journalist would even publish the claims by Turnbull, it's rubbish.
  • I think the problem is that after many decades of the Telstra copper based PSTN system many thousands of homes have multiple fixed line phone points all over the house, this could be what the current resident has had installed then again it maybe a legacy from previous owners since the PMG days, and thousands of homes make use of all of their multiple points with a handset hung off each one.

    Additional to this a residence may have multiple PSTN numbers with its own separate billing because there are multiple tenants as in rental situation or residences that are running businesses from home having separate lines.

    I am not sure how this can be accommodated (without extra cost) under the NBN if you look beyond just having a BB service distributed throughout the residence from a wireless router hung off the NTU.
  • oh, and I believe the NTU planned by NBN Co for 'legacy' builds presents a VDSL, not ADSL interface?
  • IIRC the claim about the $3000 (or whatever it was) cabling came from an electrical contractor when Cowboy claimed just before the election that the NBN would provide 1Gig to residences.

    Accordingly, if 1Gig was to be provided to all parts of the house Wireless 802.11n would not be sufficient.

    Obviously the cabling required would depend on what was currently there, its suitability for delivering 1Gig over the required distance and the 'quality' of the install (in-wall or just cables running around the house).
  • Visionary,
    Don't forget that 100Mbs connections will cater for the top end of the market. Most people would most likey sign up on 25 or 50Mbs plans. Those in need of 100Mbs will already be tech geeks & have the right equipment or can just run a $5 patch lead to where ever they need to MAX out their connection.
  • The $3000-$7000 wiring cost comes from using the highest trade rate possible on a 2 storey house & wiring every single room including the dunny, laundry, garage,etc with CAT6E cable. Please what nonsense.
  • That bit about being able to plug your old ADSL modem into the NTU is not completely correct. If your modem happens to have a WAN port (and not just an input to connect your phone line) you may be able to re-use it with a bit of reconfiguration. If it doesn't, you'll have to use a different device.
    In general though, I agree with Quigley's comments. In-house wiring will be optional for almost all scenarios. Bevan Slattery seems to be positioning himself for a run at politics me thinks!
  • Simple. The standard lead-in to houses had 2 pair. The ON's have two ATA ports. Simple deconnect the copper at the current termination point and re-terminate them and plug them into the ON. If the house has more than the standard 2 pairs coming in, then I'm sure they have a model to provide additional ports.
  • Wooww, visionay is not so visionary....
    Salami Chujillo
  • If Turnbull was still an owner of an ISP right now, and not a politician, he would be telling a whole different story. He would support the NBN and the benefits it will bring Australia. All he is now is a wrecking ball being swung from above by Abbott.
  • Actually memphisto was correct, the ONT's have ADSL2 emulation so you actually can plug in the cheapest crappiest adsl modem and it will work as if it was an ADSL2 copper phone line. This way they can literally unplug you and plug you in to the new network, and zero changes need to be made to your setup.
  • You have just put forward the reason why, the NBN should be connected to every home possible -

    "... after many decades of the Telstra copper based PSTN system many thousands of homes have multiple fixed line phone points all over the house, this could be what the current resident has had installed then again it maybe a legacy from previous owners since the PMG days"

    Just think if they and those previous owners opted out in the past, they'd have nothing, nor would the next owner.

    Funny how part of the anti NBN FUD revolves around a "stab in the dark guess of future obsolescence" regarding fibre. But in the next breathe, the same people want an opt out or even an opt in, to stick with the, "obsolete (to be decommissioned) copper"?

    WiMAX, could this and LTE may that in just a few years... Could, may, soon, maybe?

    Let's build what we know, "will", now... and if WiMAX and LTE actually do live up to the hype, utilise it as well later. We can't keep waiting for the next whiz-bang technology in fear that fibre will be made obsolete.. as it /will,never come, we must bite the bullet at sometime!

    Now is that time... stop the FUD, tear up your precious Liberal/National party membership (FUD) card, think straight and let's move forward.
  • Hear hear... goes for Paul (Optus) Fletcher too!
  • Will you put your wi-fi router outside where the ONT is located? Really? Under the harsh weather conditions? And where will you get the power?
  • I have personally (in an online forum) questioned Bevan previously about this!

    I asked if he was positioning himself for a safe Liberal seat and possible future job in the ministery, if the opposition were to win power, such is his insistance to bag the NBN and support the coalition.

    He replied and said no...he wasn't, of course!

    But let's see?