Should FTTN kill the current copper network?

Should FTTN kill the current copper network?

Summary: In its regulatory submission this week, Telstra says the new national fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) roll-out should not have to interface with current network technologies such as the copper ADSL2+ network, because of impacts on performance.


In its regulatory submission this week, Telstra says the new national fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) roll-out should not have to interface with current network technologies such as the copper ADSL2+ network, because of impacts on performance.

"The government should not force the network operator to accommodate old and new technologies, which are not compatible," Telstra said.

According to a spokesperson for the telco, having the existing DSLAM network running in parallel "compromises the actual performance of the new technology" since the node power would have to be reduced.

"The whole point of going to the new system is that it's fully integrated," the spokesperson added.

Optus sees Telstra's stance as competition choking: "This is a continuation of them wanting to strand existing competition in DSLAMs," Maha Krishnapillai, Optus director of government and corporate affairs said.

Internode MD Simon Hackett sees no reason why the older network should not run in parallel: "The 'old' (competitive ADSL2+ services) and the 'new' (node-based VDSL2) are in fact technically compatible. They can coexist with appropriate software configuration settings in the new VDSL2 equipment," he told

In a presentation in April, Hackett said that it is technically possible for the two networks to coexist using commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, and that the know-how is also at hand to connect lines from ADSL2+ to VDSL2 and back again via software remote control — requiring no labour.

"To claim they are not compatible is a Telstra excuse that tries to avoid admitting that their real agenda for the NBN is re-monopolisation of the access network and driving up access pricing to bolster their profits," Hackett said.

Retaining the older services is necessary for competition, he added, and "It avoids throwing the bay out with the bathwater."

It's currently technically possible for the two networks to exist, according to Paul Brooks, MD for Layer10 advisory, and member of the Communications Alliance VDSL working group, however, some performance constraints remain.

"Coexistence is possible; the thing is whether the industry or providers or customers are willing to accede the performance decrease," he said, adding that having both networks can reduce VDSL speeds around 10 to 20 per cent.

However, technical issues shouldn't decide the issue according to Brooks. "The technical aspects can work either way — the choices more often come down to higher level social issues."

Topics: Telcos, Microsoft, Optus, Telstra

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • *sigh*

    Just another example of Telstra attempting to choke its competitors out of the market.

    Can you smell that? It's the burning smell of hundreds of lawyers rubbing their hands together in wide eyed anticipation...
  • Simon says

    Yes just put your hands on your head, sheep, because Simon says.
  • Spend, build, and compete.

    Telstra is legally bound to take decisions that are in the best interests of shareholders as are all the competing companies. Why should Telstra keep an old and outdated network in operation if it is in their interests to close it.

    Telstra opponents who fight to continue the parasitical ride on Telstra go to hell and build your own networks.
  • Ethics

    Sydney, large monopoly companies like Telstra also have an ethical responsibility to the nation not just to it's foreign shareholders pockets.

    Now I know you REALLY have lost the plot Sydney Lawrence. As your quote says "Telstra opponents who fight to continue the parasitical ride on Telstra go to hell and build your own networks.", you know that in a country the size of Australia with it's small population density you just can't build EXTRA national networks for the sake of competition. This is not Japan, South Korea etc with high population densities.

    You sure don't have a clue as what is really involved in having an open accessed network for the benefit of all Australians and not just Telstra shareholders. You would have to be one of the most one-eyed Telstra (shareholders) around who only sees $$$$ signs in front of his eyes.

    Let's all hope that the right decisions are eventually made for the good of everyone and not just for a minority few with personal/financial agendas
  • Split them up, for gods sake.

    gah. how hard is it to see the bloody obvious?

    Make - It - Law - WHOEVER wins - must - be - seperate.

    Australia needs "affordable" internet more than it needs "faster".

    Every sector of business will be affected by the price point. Read that again. "ALL" businesses. This has much greater implications for the economy than simply looking after the financial interests of the minority.

    Yes that's right, the minority. Millions notwithstanding, this will cost every single Australian more, on so many levels, that whatever you hope to earn from your share dividend, you'll lose twice over in increase costs of every other part of your connected life.

    Please don't be so blind for short term gain - whatever happens from this is going to affect all Australians for the next generation.

    Just think past your portfolio for a minute.

    Seriously, Sydney you must have a LOT of shares in big-T.

    Great, you'll make a packet if they get monopoly. Shame your kids school fees will go up, hospital fees, bank fees, add to that pretty much every internet using business in Australia.

    Wow, you winner.

    All these "parasite" arguments are irrelevant to the NBN.

    ANYONE who wins the bid, should be split up. It's completely obvious. Then EVERYONE uses it equally - which is surely in the best interests of everyone in Australia, no?
  • We don't have to Always Disagree with Telstra

    Sure, Telstra - we can allow the FTTN to be a complete replacement for DSL technologies and the current wholesale regime. But in the interest of FAIR PLAY we will need complete and absolute 100% structural separation of Telstra. The Wholesale side running the FTTN and selling fair and equal access to all, and the Retail side selling access to end-customers. MANY of us in the industry are willing to be reasonable, the question is are you willing to do the same?
  • Split them up?

    "ANYONE who wins the bid, should be split up."

    Well, only sortof. The entire point of the Terria pitch, is that Terria will *only* do the "running the network/selling wholesale" side of things.

    Effectively they're *already* "split up".

    In fact, isn't Telstra the *only* party interested in the NBN who has this particular conflict-of-interest?
  • Q. What do the Telecoms experts, SingTel and Telstra all agree on? A. Structural

    Funny how all the "Telstra bashers" are mindlessly mimicking the Optus/TERRiA line by demanding structural separation of Telstra, when they have absolutely no idea of the consequences - lol! In fact do you know that in Singapore, Optus' parent company "SingTel are claiming the exact opposite to what Optus is claiming here"? - lol. They are arguing against their own structural separation saying it ... "Would result in costs that significantly outweigh the benefits (IF ANY) from separation, to the DETRIMENT of infrastructure based COMPETITION and END-USERS"... They believe it will force prices higher!

    But even once these Telstra bashers realise that it's not so cut and dried and that structural separation perhaps isn't all that great after all, they simply then try to turn it around again and point the finger at Telstra, but in NZ - lol! They claim Telstra is doing an Optus/SingTel and contradicting themselves too, in NZ. But no, Australia's situation is nothing at all like that NZ and Telstra aren't doing like Optus/SingTel! In relation to the avenues of separation the NZ government (not the incumbents competitors), were looking to implement, Telstra in fact submitted a paper to say structural separation of Telecom NZ WASN'T needed. But if separation was going to go ahead as per the act, it should be operational separation!

    In fact TelstraClear (the access seeker) and Telecom (the incumbent) have been conducting real unregulated business and have signed commercially negotiated agreements. Such as the agreement signed in August 2007, allowing TelstraClear to access/wholesale Telecoms mobile infrastructure/product at an agreed price! This is real business, carried out without all the crying and bleating via regulators, like is done here by access seekers.

    As for the experts, Independent Telecoms analyst Graeme Lynch said (Oct 07): - "Structural separation, be careful what you wish for"!

    And also said (June 08) - "A structurally separated carrier doesn't have the ability to charge a retail rental price and thus recover line costs that way. The current LSS price is cross-subsidized by retail revenues that would be unavailable to a wholesale-only carrier, thus the PRICES for line sharing, by definition, would RISE".

    Another Independent Telecoms analyst Kevin Morgan said (May 08): "It would appear the G9 (now TERRiA) does not want a debate about regulatory change. G9 wants the Government to fossilise both regulation and the network by imposing structural separation so it will have continued access to the existing copper wires and Telstra's telephone exchanges to offer its current broadband service... Far from being the consumer's friend, the G9 threatens to stifle investment in fibre and seems content to consign Australia's broadband future to the vagaries of an ageing and decaying copper network"...

    And finally the best till last, perpetual Telstra basher Lord Watchdog! ZDNet 20/5 (in relation to another topic) "The issue here is not about separation, which I do agree is a bad idea".

    Seems it's unanimous!
  • A. Structural separation is no good.

    Seems my heading was too long - yeah I know, as was my spiel - sorry.

    But check and read the links please, it may enlighten you, as it did me!

    I also accidentally put anonymous - doh.

    Cheers to you all, SJT!
  • Not quite unanimous

    Well actually SJT the verdict is not quite "unanimous". In what's quickly becoming the infamous SJT trait you put things out of context (as you often do) by comparing SingTel's situation with Telstra's. For those who may be interested to know there is a tender process taking place in Singapore right now, only the Singapore Government are following a far more comprehensive and competitive bidding process than Australia where multiple companies are participating. SingTel (unlike Telstra) has submitted its bid as part of a consortium of companies (very similar to what Terria have proposed in Australia) which highlights SingTel is not even attempting to retain a vertically integrated monopolgy like Telstra, but rather is prepared to join forces with others.

    Then you quote from your "independent" bum cum Kevin Morgan as if his writings were some kind of biblical scripture. Even my 3 year old daughter can differentiate independence from unequivocal journalistic bias. You may as well quote from the slobber of motor mouth Phil Burgess if you're going to keep using Kev in your arguments.

    This then only really leaves you with Graham Lynch who's posted a couple of misguide blogs in the past on his opinions of structural separation; however he's not the only analyst in this country. Paul Budde, who's one of the more respected analysts, believes "Structural separation will be a quantum leap forward for competition and innovation". He's even gone on furthe to say that "A totally separated company... will have a great incentive to maximize its infrastructure assets. They therefore will be able to eagerly sell access and other wholesale services to whoever wants to use it. It will also set itself up to be able to work together with others to share and expand infrastructure either on its own, or in partnership."

    But of course SJT, as you always do you choose to leave out important facts and arguments from your pro-Tel$tra rhetoric. If you really were merely a "messenger" as you've claimed so in the past it would be completely illogical for you to go to such effort. You're clearly spending a great deal of your time on various forums defending what's probably the largest corporation in this country. I can only hope you're in a position which pays you well because if not.. honestly why do you bother?
  • -

    James bell you are my hero
  • Truth will out.

    James Bell you make me laugh. You ask why SJT "bothers". He bothers James because all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. The argument that prices will fall if Telstra is separated is a nonsense. All companies must get a satisfactory return for their investment and TERRiA etc are no different.

    You may argue that Telstra make billions profit and this is true but consider Telstra's gigantic capitalisation James and the fact that Telstra has to borrow to pay its millions of Australian shareholders a reasonable dividend. It is a fact that the Australian Government sold Telstra to the Australian people for 60 billion dollars and the Australians who now own it do not want to see it destroyed to assist a company owned by the Singapore Government.
  • Creep off when the going gets tough then return - lol!

    Firstly - a challenge was put out to you on the 7/6, to put up or shut up in relation to Mr. Morgan. As usual you crept off tail between your legs, not to be seen. So the challenge was repeated about a week later and still nothing? But now after 3 weeks you return as if nothing ever occured - lol!

    Once again you make snide innuendo in relation to Mr. Morgan and now Mr. Lynch. It must be such a burden for you ("the special one") to know more than all the experts, Telstra, SingTel and I guess according to you, God himself!

    So once again, if you wish to accuse Mr. Morgan (and/or Mr. Lynch - lol), don't beat around the bush, DON'T AGAIN JUST IGNORE ME, be a man and do it! So cya in 3 weeks - LMFAO.

    Next, as usual I have supplied many links to back my arguments and you have not (what a surprise). But we belive "you" James.

    You also mention Mr. Budde. Yes he is another expert analyst who apparently has a different opinion to the other experts. But unlike you with Morgan/Lynch etc, I will listen to Mr. Budde's reasoning and learn why he believes so, rather than libelling him, as you do the others.

    But funny you should now herald Mr. Budde, because August '07, I forwarded an article by Mr. Budde which said ! ..." Over the last two years Telstra has become the leader in competition, and companies such as Optus have had to follow.

    And Mr. Budde also said..."Telstra is certainly forcing the rest of the industry to pull up its socks and to concentrate at least as much on business as it is currently concentrating on the regulatory environment"...

    In closing Mr. Budde also said "Full marks to Telstra and to their sales and marketing teams, who are definitely having a competitive impact on the market. This is good for customers, good for the industry and, obviously, good for Telstra itself."..

    But guess what? Surprise, surprise! At the time you denounced Mr. Budde for making such claims and daring to disagree with you - "the special one", much like you are again doing now with Mr. Morgan and Lynch - lol! So obviously, Mr. Budde is only a knowledgeable expert when he agrees with you "the special one" - lol!

    Also SingTel are fighting structural separation in Singapore, the links is there read it and understand it. They also say prices would go up under a structurally separated system. My point was to highlight that to those who may not have known this and who might want to learn. You know, those unlike you, who don't conceitedly think they know more than everyone else.

    So, place a little piece of cheese in your right (or left) ear. This will give the little mouse in there enough sustainance to do his bit and just maybe you will finally comprehend. I am not in Telstra's employ in anyway whatsoever, I do not get paid by Telstra, I do not even know or are related to anyone who works for Telstra.

    This is in contratry to you, who has been linked as an integral member of the T4 and claimed to be on the payroll of a TERRiA company. One who has made now probably 300 odd comments in 12 months!

    So unlike you - the accused, cheques in the mail James, I do this simply because I believe Telstra in the end will give all Australian's the best technology at a realistic price. It may not be cheapest, but it will actually exist, unlike TERRiA's hOPELess-esque proposal. After all, if TERRiA really wanted to win and thought their structurally separate proposal was "superior", they keep their mouths shut and just let Telstra submit their "inferior" proposal and then TERRiA would win, wouldn't they. They certainly wouldn't give Telstra the heads up ( as they have done) on their superior proposal if they truly wanted to win, would they?
  • no are no aussies left

    really there are no true australians left to build this country there is only money hungry ********, who only care about themselves and there pockets, its funny, they say inflation is high yet they put interest rates up, taxes up, costs of everything up and leave the wages exactly the same for most workers. hmm this just creates more inflation if you ask me as it make more people want higher wages!!!!!!

    so whoever builds this network must realise 1 thing most australians actually don't want better internet speeds they want the cost to be reduced! telstra has never got this to there head, i always show people on the telstra network how to reduce costs via switching isp's and every single one of them is happier as they have better plans at a cheaper rate, with better support. telstra is not a premium service and it never will be! telstra don't like whirlpool yet there are still $t supporters on the website but go to the forums and see alot of people still have problems with telstra. and for telstra saying it is too hard & costly to allow the old network to run is utter bull**** as they could use whats called a manslam! SJT & sydney if you love telstra so much why dont you go marry it? its not a true australian company anymore heck most big companies aren't australian anymore. also most people now don't read your comments as your always promoting a company. also i liken sol to hitler. also who cares whats going on in another country i only care about 1 country and thats australia and its people not the buisnesses & not shareholders. i care about 1 thing reduced prices and severly increased competition on all levels. which is better for the consumer and all australians.

    i call for every bidder on this to join terria and improve there bid even further even knowing its allready a great bid.
  • Ah yes the "challenge"

    SJT, My apologies for not responding to your "challenge" with due diligence as I have been overseas and not had the time to participate in these forum discussions. If Kevin and yourself genuinely don't understand why I believe he's on the Telstra payroll in some way, shape or form I offer you this advice and hopefully you'll find your answers. I simply recommend you read every single opinion piece he's had published over the past 24 months with an open mind. This is all that's required and one can only hope you'll then see that literally everything (or at least everything I've seen) is fraught with bias on Telstra's behalf and quite frankly it's an insult to readers for the word "independent" to be in his job description at the end of his commentary. The very fact he's written articles to be published on the heart of Telstra's propaganda Machine (NWAT) is a real disappointment. Do you think if he had something to say that wasn't so nice about Telstra they'd still publish it? I'm sure you know the answer to that question.

    As you have pointed out I don't always agree with Paul Budde either, just as I'm sure you don't blindly agree with every action your idol Sol Trujillo makes, but what you've also highlighted is that Budde, unlike Kevin (in my opinion) is truly independent.

    Sure SingTel isn't keen on being structurally separated, and even if we do put aside for a moment the substantial differences between a small, densely populated island like Singapore which could in fact support multiple fixed networks to the extremely large and mostly barren Australia, SingTel is still open towards building Singapore's FTTNx network as a member of a consortium of companies which if successful will effectively end its monopoly. Telstra is not, and on top of that is demanding an extraordinarily high rate of return on its investment. Who do you suppose is going to be left paying the price?

    You can believe I'm a member of T4 if you really want to, but as I'll say now and I've said previously I honestly don't care who wins this tender process provided the necessary competitive framework is in place and I as a consumer am not going to be forced to pay significantly more for the services, speeds and download allowances I'm already receiving today. Yes I'm not terribly excited about the prospect of Telstra winning because given their behaviour over the past decade towards competition, much of which is well documented on the ACCC's website, I simply don't believe they can be trusted as a wholesaler. This is a stark difference to your attitude which is essentially Telstra's way or the highway. If you really don't work for Telstra you need to get out more because let's face it your post count must be at least double if not triple that of mine, and I'm apparently getting paid! ;)
  • Nexus

    Technology is overtaking these arguements - Telstra's asset base is not worth what they claim. It should have been written down significantly as many of the assets probably have no book value.
    In reality you would close down the older network and replace it with a single network based on a new generation technologies - this fundamentally reduces the network operating costs.
    If Telstra continues to run their old analogue technologies it will be to the detriment of all - consumers, business, etc.
  • Good old Te$tra

    Uh huh, and not a ad point, but recall the OPEL project and the fact remains it was was doing exactly that!

    Umm let me think, what happened? Oh yeah, that's right - the current Federal Government elected to terminate the project.

    Nice one Kevin & Co.
  • Once again, put up or shut up!

    Put up or shut up James!

    Don't try to weasel out of it by asking me to read Mr Morgan's opinion pieces, either make an accusation against Mr. Morgan or retract your previous comments - period!

    Also I don't care if you're a member of T4, so what. I am simply jealous that you do and I do not get paid for our comments - lol!

    Regardless, please read my factual links as I will do of yours, if you ever actually have any.

    BTW - Hope you enjoyed your holiday!
  • RE: no aussies left

    My friend imbecilic comments don't help your cause and we can see why you refused to put your name to your comments

    You say "SJT & Sydney if you love Telstra so much why dont you go marry it"? Are you 11 years old?

    You liken Sol to Hitler - lol. Sorry you must be 10 not 11.

    Personally I believe "all" CEO's are ridiculously overpaid and that includes Sol.

    However are you aware that the world economic forum recently took place, whereby a 16 member steering committee got together to formulate a plan for climate change?

    Sol Trujillo was the only Australian CEO invited to sit on this committee, which formulated a statement signed by 100 CEOs from some of the worlds biggest companies! This statement was then handed to the G8 (no not TERRiA the real G8 - lol) President, Japanese Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda.

    So my friend, whilst 10 year olds like yourself and Telstra haters don't like Sol, it seems as though he is very highly regarded both here and overseas by those who actually know. Also appears as though, Sol is in fact regarded as perhaps one of the top 16 CEO's, worldwide!