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Australia The Internet Networking IT Technology

Landmark Steps Forward For Australia's NBN 66

angry tapir writes "After two years of protracted negotiations Telstra, the Australian Federal Government and the NBN Co have come to definitive agreements on the structural separation of Telstra and the use of its network assets in Australia's 1Gbps National Broadband Network (NBN). Australia's second largest telco, Optus, has also reached an $800m agreement with the NBN Co for the migration of its hybrid coaxial cable (HFC) customers to the fibre-optic-based NBN."
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Landmark Steps Forward For Australia's NBN

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  • 100Mbps It's just capable of 1Gbps for later upgrade.
    • It's still dialup between Australia and the rest of the world...

      • Or dial-down for those who live in Oz...
      • Please don't trot out this old myth again. This used to be the case, like, ten years ago, but not these days.

        The main (largest design capacity) undersea cables out of Australia - SXC, AJC and PPC1 - are not operating anywhere near their maximum capacity. Just because your particular ISP may be too cheap to fork out money to buy more capacity ~on~ these cables does not mean that the capacity isn't there. Some ISPs do buy sufficient international capacity - and it shows in their performance benchmarks.

        On top

    • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @04:10AM (#36552380) Homepage

      Sacrificing modpoints to say this:

      ...providing broadband services with initial speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (mbps), rising to 1 gigabit per second (gbps) in 2012, and with the capacity for further upgrades in the future...

      Taken from NBNCo's Overview PDF [].

  • Even if it didn't actually go faster on paper, there's currently a lot of people on marginal infrastructure. Copper lines that were laid 20 years ago and have been slowly corroding ever since which are adequate for voice but were absolutely never intended for ADSL2+.

    If you've been in a group in an online game with an Australian and he's randomly disconnected, we're sorry. A lot of us access the internet over a wet piece of string.

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Just been reminded this of myself. I will be staying with my partner's family for a while this summer (winter!) in Ballarat. That's over 100,000 people, but I just can't believe how bad the internet situation is there. They've upgraded their DSL so that I can work whilst I'm there, but the prices are outrageous, especially considering what one gets for the money: low speeds and tiny bit budget. For twice the price of what I get here in London (and the UK is hardly cheap), they get ADSL instead of ADSL2+

  • Bye bye copper (Score:3, Informative)

    by dan_barrett ( 259964 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @02:49AM (#36552066)

    For those that don't understand the significance, Telstra own the "last mile" copper and HFC network in Australia (Optus own a small chunk of HFC too as mentioned above.) If you want wired internet access from anyone, you generally have to pay Telstra (directly or indirectly.) As you'd expect they've used their postion to unfairly advantage their own internet service, while delaying competitors from access to exchanges to install DSLAMS, gouging competitors for access to the copper network,etc.)

    The deal means NBNCo can use Telstra's cable ducts, pits and poles to initially rollout fibre everywhere. it also means maintenance of Telstra's crappy and aging copper phone network will be handed to NBNco soon. Theoreticallly all the existing ISP's paying Telstra for access to the copper network will start paying NBNCo, instead, Because NBNCo are barred from offering retail internet services, in theory access to the network should be a level playing field.

    Eventually they'll rip out the existing copper phone network, so we'll just have the optical cable.

    My understanding is the NBNCo network will be a 'common carrier'; eg they provide the layer 1/2 network, any internet / cable TV / telephony / other data provider can buy access to the network and deliver internet / TV / telephony / data services over that network.
    It's the same model we use for water and power in Australia, eg the power generation company doesn't own or maintain the wires in the street, and isn't responsible for connection to your house. NBNCo are supposed to operate at the same level, providing teh pipes/trucks only, if you will.

    According to the pollies NBNCo can't filter the network it at the wholesale, common carrier level. We'll wait and see.

    Adam Internet, Internode and others are touting 25 to 100 megabit connections, 100GB/month data at $60/month, which is significantly more expensive than the equivalent over ADSL/copper phone lines. You can buy these right now in areas that are connected (new suburbs that were prewired in South Australia, eg Lochiel Park, LightsView, etc. ) Prospect, Aldinga and other initial rollout sites in Australia will also be able to get fibre internet over this service shortly.

    • by Llian ( 615902 )

      Price will come down much like they did for ADSL. It wasn't that long ago that 100GB was the upper limit for ADSL here in Oz. Now we have ISP's offering terrabyte plans. The problem as I see it will be reaching critical mass which will be the main price dropper. If the libs get in this won't happen. Let us hope for more contracts that are really expensive to renege on.
    • The devil is in the details though. The cheapest connection via the NBN is currently planned to be $24 a month for 24MBit at the customer end. However there is an additional $20 per month per MBit charge at the peering point that the ISP will have to pay for all traffic flowing over this last mile network. With no way for traffic to flow directly between households. And while I realise the pricing structure is based on a fairly large and probably normal over-subscription ratio, this means that anyone who wa

    • by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:04AM (#36552586)

      I'd just like to point out the only reason you will have caps on your FTTH connection is because of the government's absurd pricing scheme that isn't used in any other wholesale network in the world. In addition to the usual $xx/(tier of speed) retail ISPs have to pay NBNCo (known as AVC, ex: $24/12mbit, $36/50 mbit, etc.), there is an additional "contention charge", called the connectivity virtual circuit (CVC). ISPs attempting to provision bandwidth to their customers will have to pay $20/mbit of actual throughput.

      There are two points to consider here. One is that this charge is utterly unrelated to the cost or difficulty of transferring data on the new network. The FTTH network will be provisioned extremely well. Charging $20/mbit is ludicrous. Those prices are beyond inflated. Currently international transit data to Australia costs $40/mbit, and drops 50% every year on average. Worst of all is that NBNco's business plan foresees charges dropping only 50% after 10 years. Bandwidth costs around the world drop 35% *annually*.

      The second point is that NBNCo is ostensibly using CVC charges to hasten payback on the network. However it absolutely doesn't need a CVC charge, and could instead simply increase each AVC tier by a few dollars/month. Simon Hackett, the founder and private owner of Internode, has relentlessly criticized the NBN over this issue (

      Because of CVC, 90-95% of the FTTH's capacity will go unused. Remember, GPON allocates 2.4 gbit/s to each node of 32 users. FTTH networks like Verizon FIOS deliver virtually 1:1 uncontended bandwidth to their customers. XGPON (10 gbit/s) is already commercially available and NBNCo will no doubt adopt it in a few years. This will mean an even smaller % of the network's will be utilized. Make no mistake: if not for the absurd and unnecessary CVC charges everyone in Australia would have unlimited, uncapped accounts.

      • I may not have made this clear in my previous post. My point about the international transit data being $40/mbit and dropping 50% every year, compared to NBNco's $20/mbit CVC charge, is that intranational transit is orders of magnitude cheaper than international. In a couple of years it will actually be cheaper to transmit data across the Pacific Ocean to Australia than it will be to send data between users in Australia, despite the fact that the NBN is basically one giant LAN network where bandwidth is v
        • This does seem especially dumb. I thought that was the whole point -put in insane, unlimited bandwith across the whole country and people will invent ways to use it!

    • by Kuruk ( 631552 )
      So we go from one ex-government monster to another government made monster.

      Im sure it will be more fair.

      I mean the government doesnt want us to pay anything for all this does it ?
    • Now, when the power goes out, so will your landline

  • And they included a half-billion dollar exit clause [], which will seriously deter any subsequent government from trying to stuff it up. :)
  • By my calculation Conroy just spent $521 on behalf of each man, woman and child in Australia ($11.8B / 22,643,653 people) to buy an aging copper network run by Telstra: a privatised monopoly phone company with a crappy record for innovation, value or customer service. In exchange for this I get to pay almost exactly what I currently do for the same Internet service I already do through a new monopoly. If I am unlucky, it will be even slower. What is the point of this? Telstra must be laughing their asses o

    • They money Conroy just spent means that NBNCo doesn't need to go "re-inventing the wheel" to build out a lot of the network. Where there's pit and pipe already, they get to avoid building there own. There are projected savings due to using Telstra's infrastructure which is why it was worth paying for.

      Additionally, there are many who can't even get 8Mpbs, some are on much less. There are some that suffer hourly ADSL line re-syncs which means when your trying to do something like VOIP you can expect you ca

    • I can't say if it is good value for money or not, but it would cost a heck of a lot of money to dig up the ground to lay a parallel set of trenches for the new fibre optic. Of course, the govt. was stupid in the first place to privatise Telstra whilst giving them these trenches. They should have privatised it and kept the rights to the holes in the ground.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun