The first CEO of the National Broadband Network (NBN), Mike Quigley, has hit out at the shambles that Malcolm Turnbull has made of our national fibre optic network:
In the speech, Mr Quigley rubbished the copper-based fibre-to-the-node technology, a centrepiece of the Coalition’s rollout, and said fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) “is the only safe long-term bet for Australia’s fixed broadband network”.
“To spend billions of dollars to build a major piece of national infrastructure that just about meets demand today, but doesn’t allow for any significant growth in that demand over the next 10 or 20 years, without large upgrade costs, is incredibly short-sighted,” he said.
“It is such a pity that so much time and effort has been spent on trying to discredit and destroy the original FTTP-based NBN.
“And equally a pity that the Coalition has put their faith in what has turned out to be a short-sighted, expensive and backward-looking MTM [mixed technology model] based on copper.
“The nation is going to be bearing the consequences of those decisions for years to come in higher costs and poorer performance in an area that is critical to its long-term future.
“Betting tens of billions of taxpayers dollars at this time on copper access technologies, as the Coalition has done, is a huge miscalculation.”
Malcolm Turnbull, when Minister for Communications under The Lord Rabbott VD, decided he had to have a different plan to Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) plan. Labor’s plan was to have fibre optic cable to every home and business in the country, where possible.
Turnbull had to be different, so he changed it to fibre to the node (FTTN), where the fibre optic cables end at big metal cabinets in the street, and the connection to your home and to businesses would be made using Telstra’s old copper wire cables.
Trouble is, those copper wires are old and unreliable, and the pits fill with water, and many of the connections were poorly made in the old days, and the copper was never going to be capable of the full speed data that full fibre can give, especially in the reverse (upload) direction.
In addition, the system can’t be upgraded. It’s too old. That’s why Telstra was so happy to sell it to the NBN Co.
Turnbull promised a second rate system, but cheaper and sooner. It has NOT worked out that way. The cost is working out to be about the same as Labor’s original plan, and the schedule has slipped so that it will not be available earlier as he promised.
Optic fiber cable
So Turnbull has condemned this country to a second rate, much slower system that is obsolete before it’s finished, can’t be upgraded, and will come no sooner than if it had been fibre all the way, as Labor originally proposed.