Telecoms lessons learnt in the flood

Telecoms lessons learnt in the flood

Summary: As flood-ravaged telecoms services struggle in Victoria and slowly come online in Queensland, the things these disasters have shown us will factor heavily into future telecommunications infrastructure planning. But do they suggest we should change our thinking about the NBN — or just hurry up and build it even faster?

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There are as many lessons to take from the Queensland, NSW and Victoria floods as there are days in the year. When it comes to communications, the widespread service outages of recent weeks have provided invaluable insight into just how and where modern fibre-optic, copper-based and wireless telecommunications systems — none of which existed in their current state the last time floods reached these levels, back in 1974 — are vulnerable.

That there has been an outpouring of camaraderie to get the facilities back online, is commendable. But that hasn't eased the task ahead of the engineers dispatched to pump water out of more than 200 Telstra exchanges, Optus facilities, AAPT's offline Brisbane datacentre, Vodafone's base station sites and even an electricity network so badly damaged that authorities are already looking to how its renaissance could actually speed the shift towards the smart grid.


Will the fallout from the floods stop the NBN wheels turning for a while, or speed them up? (Wheel of Brisbane image by PMBO, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Indeed, an analyst I recently spoke to half-jokingly referred to flooded Queensland as "the world's biggest greenfields site" — and, not to minimise the seriousness of the devastation, he's right. Taking stock of the current situation, there are unprecedented opportunities to test new technologies, and write off old ones that have been pushed over the brink by these extreme conditions. I'm not sure how much of Telstra's controversial South Brisbane copper-for-fibre replacement project has been completed so far, for example, but the fact that much of that area was underwater would certainly have given Telstra a hands-on lesson in managing fibre-to-the-node infrastructure under duress.

Ditto Nextgen Networks, which only recently learned how a fibre-optic backbone cable buried 1.5 metres underground could have been severed by flood debris; buried as it is, fibre normally keeps on trucking without any dramas. But when flood waters washed away the dirt road under which the cable was buried, the cable became vulnerable to outside elements such as cascading debris, and it's only a matter of time until something breaks.

Thankfully, fibre networks are redundant and IP is reroutable, which is helping maintain services to nearly one-fifth of Australia's population while the services are fixed. But one cannot help but notice that the star performers throughout this crisis were the wireless networks: Vodafone, which was already suffering availability issues before the floods, was able to quickly get back online as its lack of fixed infrastructure means it has far fewer assets to fix. And successful efforts to avert the flooding of a 3 datacentre in Brisbane apparently kept that part of VHA's network online.

Meanwhile, Telstra and Optus engineers are furiously manning the pumps. And, throughout the crisis, it seems the most useful form of communications in flood-affected areas was the mobile phone — which continued working long after home landlines were underwater. Does this reinforce the argument that wireless next-generation services make more sense than fixed ones? On one hand, yes: wireless networks are clearly more flexible and resilient in times like these than their fixed counterparts. The battery life of on-site backups notwithstanding, it's quite possible for carriers to set up temporary base stations to supplement coverage for residents and emergency workers alike throughout crisis areas; it would seemingly have been relatively straightforward to anchor a barge-mounted base station, complete with generators and an ample supply of fuel, in the river or on a more slowly flowing floodplain to maintain services if necessary.

The fact that so many sites have suffered water damage and outages does rightfully raise questions.

When your telecommunications exchange is filled with water, there's not a lot you can do until that water is gone. But the fact that so many sites have suffered water damage and outages does rightfully raise questions — such as why crucial equipment wasn't located on high floors of local exchanges, safe above peak water lines. And why these exchanges are located in low-lying areas of flood-prone areas, rather than having been placed somewhere nearby but, say, up a hill. And why the ducts carrying Telstra's copper network, to which NBN Co will soon lease access for a tidy sum, are currently little more than underground rivers that will need to be pumped and tested in their thousands of kilometres.

There will be write-offs, of course, and it's hard to imagine that an event of this magnitude wouldn't exacerbate shortcomings in Telstra's already hit-or-miss local loop network. Telstra is racing to restore services, but now reckons it will be three months before services are back to normal in south-east Queensland. And one can say with great certainty that NBN Co engineers will be watching closely to consider how their own network designs might need to be modified to ensure maximum uptime and resilience during natural disasters. The company is, among other things, engineering 120 points of interconnection for which the disaster plans will likely need to be adjusted based on the recent events. And it will need to consider extra protective measures for network equipment in flood-prone areas; even assuming that wireless networks continue playing their important role in disaster recovery, they need backhaul to plug into.

NBN critics have also used the floods to raise questions for NBN Co's battery strategy, which has been identified as a potential disaster issue as residents with optical network terminal (ONT) installed batteries will theoretically lose services faster than those with centrally-powered copper phone connections. Yet as company representatives have pointed out, in such serious flooding you've probably already left the house; and, in any event, the limited battery life of cordless phones would take its own toll.

There are no easy answers to the flood crisis, and there will be many more difficult choices as the clean-up continues. Indeed, beyond all the technical minutiae will be an even more important question: does the previously unanticipated need for what is sure to be billions in disaster relief funding, mean we should slow down major projects like the NBN roll-out to reallocate that money and get Queensland's economy back on its feet?

There are already rumblings to this effect, and Julia Gillard will ultimately need to decide whether changing circumstances make it important to reconsider funding for the NBN, or other major projects, to preserve any hope of the promised surplus budget. For now, it's safe to assume she will not — and with $1.6 billion in new contracts assigned this week, big new commitments certainly need to be honoured. But as the mud and debris are cleared, her spending decisions will ultimately help shape the larger picture of our future communications infrastructure — and, potentially, accelerate our shift towards the NBN.

What do you think? Does the demonstrated importance of wireless strengthen the case for a wireless NBN? And will the flooding delay the NBN, or further justify it?

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government, Government AU, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

About

Australia’s first-world economy relies on first-rate IT and telecommunications innovation. David Braue, an award-winning IT journalist and former Macworld editor, covers its challenges, successes and lessons learned as it uses ICT to assert its leadership in the developing Asia-Pacific region – and strengthen its reputation on the world stage.

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21 comments
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  • Arguably the 120 POI design that NBNCo is using will actually make it even worse then the (current) network with this type of floods. With a single POI serving so many people, if it gets flooded (and shut down), thats a LOT more people that are without their internet connection compared to the Telstra exchanges, which on average each one serving the size of a suburb
    deteego
  • David,

    No matter what "industry" expert told you about it being a greenfield site, the use of fibre optic will be limited with the battery in a situation like this compared to copper, as I have just lived through the disaster. This is a plain fact, as well that most of us in the FTTP field have known.

    Not to talk about the environment fun we will have with these batteries. Not everyone was underwater, and many lost power with water at their back yards, but could still make calls.

    This does not, however, fully stop the argument of use of fibre optic for the NBN. The argument stands that this is NOT a good use of tax payers money in providing telecommunication services to people. No one in their right minds, goes into a business with a poor understanding of the industry, and yet alone a crappy business case that wouldn't stand up in the private world. Again reports show 15% usage of plans, even though tech geeks love using the full 100Gb plan for porn and illegal movies. Too bad for the rest of us.

    As for wireless, you will find that they too are linked into the same exchanges for fixed, base stations require power again too and they share many of the same infrastructure conduits as the fibre/copper services.

    The "pro-NBN" lobbiest have lost. Finally, the fudged figures (which seem a bit cheaper than the last time I heard), with cost to go up for services, a huge monopoly, and a big debt for them to pay in their future years. The "dream" for cheap/free high speed Internet everywhere, has finally lost its luster.

    The proof will be further in the pudding with services and delivery, not jus the cost...
    Theguy-bbb4a
  • Once again (with "all due respect" to those who have suffered in the floods) as another poster said, "lets go back to keeping horses in case we run out of petrol".

    Telstra exchanges were down -

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/telstra-cut-off-from-100s-of-qld-exchanges-339308563.htm

    As was their Bass Strait cable -

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/weather-severs-telstra-bass-strait-cable-339308606.htm

    As were carriers and mobile carriers -

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/telcos-services-stumble-as-flood-peaks-339308550.htm

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/mobile-networks-flag-as-backups-die-339308536.htm

    Seriously, deteego and Theguy... if this anti-NBN stupidity, is the best you guys can muster in such a tragic disaster, you guys need to wake up to yourselves!
    RS-ef540
  • Please compare the numbers between how much people a Telstra exchange serves and how much an NBN POI serves

    To put things into perspective, there are 120 POI's for all of Australia, the number of Telstra's exchanges runs into thousands

    So guess how many people a single POI will take out when it goes down ;)
    deteego
  • LOL...

    Following unsuccessfully trying to hang the NBN on, no business plan, debt, pricing, ROI, take-up rates, Quigley's cred etc, etc.

    All you nay-sayers have left to cling to, is this vague notion that copper is invincible in rain and fibre isn't (umm refer to the URLs above again)...!

    Look, why don't you try... "it will simply be too hard and cost too much to feed the white elephant", that would be as believable as any of your previous nonsense. I won't mention those silly comments of your relating to parliament and those rubbery figures...

    Oops just did,sorry!
    RS-ef540
  • First off, the NBN is not the only network to be hit by centralised infrastructure risk. Let's start with a few facts here.

    An exchange is a local serving final node, it is the most common, at thousands of exchanges, currently deployed. Under the NBN there will still be local servicing final nodes, as we a street splitters.

    A POI is a interconnection node between networks, which allows retail ISPs and backhaul operators to connect to the network. It services a rather large geographical area. Telstra, for example, have 14 such POIs. Most retail ISPs are the same at the moment.

    An exchange is not a POI.

    Think of it this way, let's take the public transport network in Sydney. An exchange would be the equivlent of say Chatswood, Blacktown, or Circular Quay. These stations are connected to the primary transport network, rail, and service the community with buses and ferries. If these stations are knocked out of commision, the area affected is localised to that station and the area it services, like an exchange.

    A POI on the other hand is like Central Station. Every single train service, including intercity services, at some point, will go through Central Station. If you knock out Central Station, you're in serious trouble.

    Yes, this is a risk, but it's a risk that is currently be taken with current ISPs, and will likely always be taken in any infrastructure project. The cost of making the service completely redudant is to high to consider.

    The assumption that the current CAN by Telstra, and also the secondary ISP networks that connect directly to the LLU at exchanges are not prone to this same flaw is laughable, so I can't even believe you would suggest it.
    Nightkhaos
  • Theguy,

    In regards to your "phones not working in a diaster"... it's a diaster. Things go wrong. And if you live a zone that is prone, to say, flooding, it is important you remain prepared. If that means having a few ONT batteries on hand, or batteries for your mobile in future, so be it. Is it a flaw? Yes. It's a flaw. Is a flaw worth stopping the entire project over? As you rightly pointed out, no.

    I'm sorry, but who has a poor understanding of the industry? Mike Quigley, CEO of NBN Co, certainly doesn't. He has years of industry experiance. What is crap about the business case? It doesn't make short term profits, well durr, isn't the the defining difference between private and government enterprise, private is profit driven, government enterprise is their to furfil some function that a previous government considered vital, and not for profit purposes.

    Also the reports of only 15% of quota were completely unrelated to the NBN release, and don't suddenly point out "oh we don't need the NBN", because that is quota, not speed. And for the record, also, the reason that percentage is so low is because the plans have gone way beyond 100GB in the past few months. I have 200GB, and my plan is kinda on the small side, the larger plans are in the order of a terabyte.

    And why are you assuming the geeks use it for "porn and illegal movies". Personally the IR of the NBN for me will be used for offsite backup purposes and the ability to upload home video content from home, something I rarely do because ADSL2+ (even Annex M) is simply not fast enough. It usually takes twice as long to upload the film as it did to EDIT it. And that's for something as small as a 10 minute 720p movie. HFC could be, but I don't see anyone doing ANYTHING about that at the moment. Also, I am not comfortable to being restricted to one provider, i.e. Telstra or Optus depending on where you live, and as the lack of the fair competition because of Telstra's Vertically Intergrated Monoploy is the home reason the Broadband Debate started in the first place.

    Also, finally, if the "pro-NBN" lobbiests had lost, the NBN would have been scraped because the Independents, and the Greens, would have withdrawn support for the project. That has yet to happen, and I honestly don't see many signs that it will. Just some politcal games being played by the Liberal party.

    The figures have not been fudged, because they are predictions, and the policy is in flux. The ACCs decision to mandate 120 POIs over the proposed 19 POIs has resulted increased projected expenduture of around a billion. And do you seriously think that other changes won't result in increases in cost? Like you can just say "it'll cost X Billion" and that's that? Even Private Enterprise doesn't assume that.

    We don't know anything about if the costs will go up for a service on the NBN, because no retailer has released finalised plans for them. But based upon the projections they will be around what you pay right now for phone and broadband.

    And why is there some assumption that a monoploy is inheritantly bad. Telstra was bad, not because it was a monoploy, but because it was VERTICALLY INTERGRATED. This means that it could charge "itself" less for providing services that those it wholesaled to. This means that it could charge retail prices LESS than it's wholesale costs. If monoployies were so bad, why do we have only one electricity grid? Why do we have only one road network? Unfortunately, in certain areas, monoploys are not only nessicary, they will occur without government intervention, either in the from of an actual monoploy, or multiple localised geographic monoploys. These areas, of which last mile wireline commication is one, are known as natural monoploies.

    Finally, who's dream was that, the dream of cheap/free high speed Internet? It certainly isn't the dream of Private Enterprise, who are the current people running they show, they want to screw as much money out of us as possible. It is only the dream of customers who think they can get something for nothing. However, if you can build and run a FTTH network to the whole of Australia, and not charge anyone a cent to use it, then I will be very impressed.
    Nightkhaos
  • The PON splitters is what eventually connects all the way up to the POI, if the POI goes down there is nothing sending data down to the PON splitters.

    As far as I am aware (and from reading the buisness case) the PON splitters do not have redundancy in going to multiple POI's
    deteego
  • Which is precisely my point! If a POI goes down in Telstra, of which they only have 14 I might add, or NBN Co, or any other ISP in exsistance everyone serviced by that POI will not be able to connect to the internet or use phone services or suffer a reduced level of service (e.g. the traffic is directed to another POI).

    If an exchange, or in the case of NBN, a local aggergation node (i.e. a node that takes the fibre strands from the all the GPON Spliter, aggerates the traffic and sends it along a higher capacity transit fibre to the POI, not exactly sure what they'll call such a node, but I can assume they will have them otherwise there will around a THREE THOUSAND strands of fibre to lead into each and every POI (10m homes, by 120 POIs, with avg of 24 users per GPON) goes down, everyone who is serviced by the exchange or node will not be able to connect to the internet or use phone services or suffer a reduced level of service (i.e. higher contention on the aggergated transist fibre lines).

    If a GPON Spilter goes down, everyone who is serviced by that GPON Spliter will not be able to access will not be able to access internet and phone services or suffer a reduced level or service (e.g. mobile wireless).

    If an ONT, cable modem, or ADSL2+ modem unit goes down, everyone who is serviced by that ONT, cable modem or ADSL2+ modem, will not be able to access internet and phone services or suffer a reduced level of service (e.g. mobile wireless).

    The current network is as likely to have this type of failure as the NBN, of a centralised infrastructure goes down, either a section of the network is cut off entirely, or, if redudnancy is put in place, the quality of delieverable service is significantly reduced.

    Now as we don't know the level of aggeration they are doing (i.e. how many local aggeration nodes they will put in place), or what level of redudancy they have put in place because the business case and technical documents do not cover this, we can't make the determination that the NBN is better, or worse, equiped than Telstra and current other ISPs. In particular because information on the networks of various ISPs and Telstra is hard to come by!

    You CANNOT compare POIs to exchanges. They are not equivelent. Comparing POIs to POIs, there are more points of failure meaning that a failure will result in reduced impact, comparing GPON Spliters to Exchanges (not a truly apt comparsion but the best we have got until they release information about any aggeration nodes they will be using) there are more points of failure, meaning that any single failure will result in reduced impact.
    Nightkhaos
  • Telstra doesn't have a POI, any company can connect to any of Telstra's exchange (assuming there is room there to set up infrustructure) and use the ULL/LSS

    The model that NBNCo uses is deliberately more centralised then Telstra's network in order to make it easier for startup companies, its one of the selling points of NBN. It means that more ISP's are connected to a single POI to service an area then under Telstra's

    If this wasn't the case, then NBNCo trumping about easier startup for smaller RSP's doesn't apply

    There is always a compromise, and the compromise for NBNCo in using a much more centralized model is this one (it obviously comes with other advantages)
    deteego
  • They do have POIs for their wholesale customers. A POI is literally that, a POINT OF INTERCONNECT. Usually in a datacenter, and it's a point where two networks INTERCONNECT.

    You'll note I said "or any other ISP" when refering to Telstra. Telstra are the biggest, but they are not the only, I of course know about LLU/LSS, but every ISPs need POIs. The POIs allow them to connect to other ISPs network, backhaul providers, and overseas cables.

    Of course there is always a compromise, but you are now just, as you did on Delimiter, nitpicking. I just presented a very valid case that you can't compare an exchange to a POI and you counter with a couple of points that 1) I said in my post, but not explictly, and 2) do nothing to invalidate my case what so ever. So can I take this as a concession to my point?
    Nightkhaos
  • "... any company can connect to any of Telstra's exchange (assuming there is room there to set up infrustructure) and use the ULL/LSS...

    Yeah..."that is of course, if Telstra don't "wilfully deny them access... A G A I N"!
    RS-ef540
  • He didn't say 'copper was invincible in rain and fibre isn't' he was making a point about POI distribution, but then you know that, when you don't have anything substantive to say against a post (which is quite often) you make it all up then answer points that were never made originally anyway, give yourself multiple thumbs up then scuttle off patting yourself on the back as if you have won the argument.

    .
    advocate-d95d7
  • No he was pretty well suggesting copper is invincible, simply to promote another round of baseless FUD...!
    RS-ef540
  • Was this post directed at me? Not sure. I'm going to assume it was.

    Let's look at exactly what he said then:

    "Arguably the 120 POI design that NBNCo is using will actually make it even worse then the (current) network with this type of floods. With a single POI serving so many people, if it gets flooded (and shut down), thats a LOT more people that are without their internet connection compared to the Telstra exchanges, which on average each one serving the size of a suburb"

    He then clarified this point slightly further down. So then let's look at this: he was saying the amount of people affected by a single POI going down was greater than an exchange going down, and this presented a greater risk. This is fine, I conceded this point.

    However, I then pointed out that current ISPs have POIs right now which service a rather large area, larger than the POI area (at, in Telstra's case, Internode, iiNet, etc, have similar numbers, 14 POIs for the country vs 120 for NBN Co). Now, if any one of these POIs went down, the damage in terms of lost connections is arguably greater than that of a one of NBN Co's POIs going down. Simple right... or so I thought until he replied. Hence the big chain, which was all just a big clarification of the initial point made.
    Nightkhaos
  • Unless you can explain how RSP's can connect to more then 120 points on the current network (i.e. they cannot) YOU have to accept the fact that the NBN network model is more centralised then the current Telstra one

    That is a FACT

    And such a centralization model will have the (disadvantage) where all of the RSP's connect at much much less 'points' on the network (you can call them POI's or whatever you want), which means that if that 'point' goes down, then the rest explains itself

    An exchange is essentially a POI, because any ISP/RSP can connect to an exchange, in the literal sense of the word (point of interconnecting). Such a model offers a lot more redundancy for OBVIOUS reasons.

    Its the fact that NBNCo is wholesale only that RSP/ISP's are 'forced' (or by network design, w/e you want to call it) to connect at a limited number of points, the same is not with the current Telstra exchanges, where ISP/RSP's bypass TW almost wherever they can with ULL/LSS

    Of course I am nitpicking, because the devil is always in the details. If you ignore these things, then you end up with massive problems later on
    deteego
  • I am not ignoring the details. I am not trying to ignore the details. Unfortunately, with the internet we will always have the issue of centralised infrastruture. Because the more you try and decentralise it THE MORE IT WILL COST.

    Also it is worth pointing out that POIs of competiting ISPs are often in the same area, and sometimes even THE SAME BUILDING simply because it is cheaper to rent exsiting floor space than to build a new data center to host all the switching equipment, and for the far important reason that laying new fibre is very expensive (due to civic works and labor, not the actual cable), and it thus cheaper to use existing dark fibre that to run an alternative route.

    You also have to remember that until fairly recently ISPs were not able run their own fibre to exchange. I haven't seen much works going on at exchanges with them running new fibre to exchange everytime an ISP installs a DSLAM, and you know what that means don't you: they are using the existing, i.e. Telstra's, dark fibre, to do it.

    So, I don't think the NBN is actually anymore centralised than the current setup, and also, fibre is a little bit more resilant than copper. It can still work when submerged without risk of a short if the insultation doesn't have complete coverage, unless servered, it doesn't fail if striked by lighting, oh and... it doesn't oxidise either.

    And I have to point out that a lot of people, who a properly a lot smart than you or I, have been working away at NBN Co thinking about these very problems!
    Nightkhaos
  • While you guys slug it out, you've kind of missed half the point here - that Telstra's monopoly over the backbone should have been split up first BEFORE final decisions about how the NBN would be architected. Instead we've allowed (through some inane politics) the status quo to persist, namely the control in one set of hands a huge resource that could easily have complemented and helped define a better NBN plan from the beginning. By better I mean a fully integrated design and IMHO a significantly cheaper plan.
    As it is the NBN is a great design (over what we currently have) but it comes at a price premium on a scale that is jaw dropping by global per head comparisons. The only consolation, and I don't swallow it, is the lifetime ROI claimed. There's no way the bulk of $36b investment won't have be augmented to the tune of billions more every 5-7-10 years, and we have barely even scratched the surface of the investment in end user terminal equipment required upgrades to harness the NBN.
    pwiz-01c1e
  • Okay, first of all Telstra does not have a monoploy "over the backbone." Telstra has a monoploy over the "last mile infrastruture". The backbone networks are owned by a serious of competing companies. Granted, as I pointed out, a lot of the fibre that has been put in the ground is Telstra's and backbone operators lease/buy the cables off Telstra, simply because (and this is standard parctice) Telstra laid a lot of dark fibre when they upgraded the intra-exchange links.

    The monopoly that needed to be split with Telstra was actually the fact that they own last mile network, and they are able to run retail services on said last mile link. Not only that, but they also are the only provider to have placed DSLAMs in remote exchanges and are also able to sell retail services to these customers.

    The result of this problem is known as Vertical Intergration, which in itself isn't a bad concept, however it is prone to abuse. For example, Telstra can, and has in the past, sold retail services for less than their customers would pay wholesale to use their services (especially a problem where Telstra are the only people with DSLAMs to service a particular area). This means that if we "split" the retail entity and the wholesale entity, we would not that the retail entity is actually making a loss to deliever these prices, meaning that no other person on in the market can complete with Telstra.

    So in that, the NBN is not the status quo. It is a significant improvement over the status quo, because NBN Co is not allow to have a "retail arm".

    A single provider over a geographic area in certain industries makes more econmic sense than multiple providers, wireline services are such a case, and these cases are known as "natural monoploies". This means the market tends towards one provider, because having more than one provider results in the providers not being able to get a high enough market percentage to offset their capital expentures.

    This is especially problematic because, in natural monoploies their tends to be a high capital expenduture but low operational expenduiture, meaning that an existing player that has paid off more of their inital debt to build the operational assets has an advantage over another player that has to service debt used to build their network.

    "By better I mean a fully integrated design and IMHO a significantly cheaper plan."

    Okay, a fully intergrated plan, althrough the ultimate ideal to offset the hugh capital expenditure, will not go down well at all. For two reasons:

    1) The government has proven it cannot be trusted with power of technical equipment such as the Internet. A fully intergrated network will allow them to "install the filter' for example, whereas under the NBN to do that would be circumvent fundemental sercuity procautions and net neutrality considerations in the design (in that the network only knows this packet is from A and it going to B, where A and B are a ONT or ISP PoP in a PoI. Meaning the onus still lays on retail ISPs, meaning that it is easier for us to kick up a fuss and get it overturned. Imagine if the NBN has a "fliter" clause tacked on as part of it's design. Would you be happy? I certainly wouldn't.

    2) you are talking about telling a multi-billion dollar indutry to that "Unfortunately, we're taking all your customers and forcing you to shut yourselves down because we think we can do a better job, and we can do that because we're the government." That will set a very dangerous precident. How would you like to own an opperate a business where the govnerment can at any time say "you're doing it wrong, your business is now closed, we'll do it for you"?

    As your opionions on the price problem are actually a little bit flawed. Take this article: http://www.multichannel.com/article/88938-Disconnect_on_Cost.php

    Verzion FiOS network capital costs are in the order of $5K per home. In comparsion, whereas in Australia the cost is around $4K per connected home (conservative estimate of 9 million homes for $36b capx). If that isn't precidence I don't know what is.

    As for the costs return requirement not being meet, the estimations made by the looks of it are quite conservate, so I am personally okay with the projected ROI being meet.

    "...and we have barely even scratched the surface of the investment in end user terminal equipment required upgrades to harness the NBN."

    The "end user termial equipment" required to "harness the NBN" the majority of users already have in their homes, in most cases PROVIDED BY THE ISP AS PART OF THE CONTRACT. A WiFi g router is more than enough to utilise a 12Mbps or 25Mbps. Those who opt for faster speeds will likely already have wired their house with 100Mbps or gigabit ethernet and have wireless N equipment. And as for television provider, what makes you think they won't provide set top box like Foxtel does now for their Cable and Sat services?
    Nightkhaos
  • Nightkhaos has many valid points, but learn how to spell dude.
    the 'business case' is irrelevent , this is building a national asset.
    They said the Sydney Harbour Bridge was a waste of money and we wouldn't want to be without it now, Sydney would be half the city it is.
    In the communication age do we want Australia to be half the country it could be?
    peter29-40f83