NBN has abandoned Canberra

Kim Fischer 24 January 2017 52

National Broadband Network

The Christmas and New Year break has long been a preferred time of year for government agencies to deliver unpopular news. However, NBN Co has taken this practice one step further than usual.

Knowing that an update for the rollout plan on the National Broadband Network could be delayed no further, NBN Co quietly removed the plan altogether from its website just before Christmas. Its new “interactive search tool” makes it much harder to compare the old rollout schedule with the new one.

Once you manually collate the dates, the truth is damning: Nearly all of the ACT has been pushed to the very back of the NBN’s revised rollout schedule.

  • See ACT NBN Co Rollout Delays broken down by suburb here.

When meeting residents during the ACT election campaign last year, it would be no exaggeration to say that access to the NBN was one of the top issues raised with me.

Just 14 months ago, NBN Co was predicting that 18 of Belconnen’s 25 suburbs would have commenced NBN construction by now. Instead, all residents of Belconnen will now have to wait until at least June 2019 to receive access. Weston Creek has also been moved to the very back of the pack, as have as over half of the suburbs of Woden Valley and central Canberra.

Tuggeranong has been finally given a scheduled date for NBN availability, but this is the same “magical” date of June 2019 that fully half of all Canberra suburbs have been assigned.

Given that NBN Co had connected less than 50% of Canberra’s promised suburbs by the end of 2016, healthy scepticism about the these forecast dates seems wise. Indeed, based on current delays and rescheduling of dates the rollout of the NBN in the ACT isn’t likely to be completed until 2025.

Residents in Dunlop remain stuck on the decade-old ADSL technology. No telecommunications company is going to invest in improving fixed-line connectivity when the NBN is continually “about to be installed” everywhere.

The Federal Government’s complete lack of interest in prioritising robust broadband for its largely Canberra-based public servants is baffling. Recent studies show that the productivity benefits of telecommuting to an organisation can be worth up to 20% of an employee’s wages due to lower absenteeism, higher morale, more hours worked, improved access to highly qualified parents needing more workplace flexibility, and more productive hours worked due to fewer office distractions. But a prerequisite for effective teleworking is access to fast and reliable broadband services.

Delivering the NBN earlier in Canberra would unlock productivity benefits and cost savings, but unfortunately the Federal Government doesn’t appear to recognise the financial benefits of that outcome.


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
52 Responses to NBN has abandoned Canberra
Filter
Order
gazket gazket 10:17 pm 30 Jan 17

How could anyone roll out the NBN at a decent speed with no money ? Remember ACT and federal Labor have already spent our taxes for the next 50 years.

JC JC 11:52 am 30 Jan 17

Arthur Davies said :

J C’s comments are very interesting. I know that Transact installed 2 new cables from the pole (& I assume from the nearest node) to each customer, abandoning the existing old phone cable, one new cable was dedicated to the new phone, the other to data & cable TV. In my area the original phone cables were put in around 1952 & had never been replaced/upgraded, they were very unreliable & failed each time it rained. This unreliability was a major factor in my changing to Transact. The original phone cables, where they still exist, will certainly be quite unsuitable for a data connection & would have to be replaced for broadband.

I assumed the optical cable went from the nodes to the exchange, but maybe they go to a separate Transact distribution point. In any case it is a much smaller & cheaper option to connect Transact’s distribution point to the NBN system than to wire up the whole suburb from scratch.

iinet does own Transact’s network now so it would have to be taken over to become part of NBN. The Commonwealth has the power to take over an asset at any time so long as it pays just compensation, they do it with homes & farms all the time. Given that Transacts network is now years old, depreciation (which the company will have claimed in their tax return I am sure) will have substantially reduced its value. The fact that they have not chosen to do this shows me that they have another agenda, one which does the ACT no good at all.

Another problem is iinet’s refusal to allow any other provider to use their cables, so unfortunate customers are effectively forced to use iinet only. iinet are not offering good service as shown by the high number of complains to the communication ombudsman. I assume that their action constitutes a restraint on trade but no one is interested in investigating/prosecuting them for this, one has to ask why not & in whose interest it is to ignore the trade practices legislation. The fact that it is occurring in the ACT is surely a major factor.

Arthur, will dispel a few alternative-truths there.

Firstly Transact is an open access network and there are ISP’s other iiNET who can provide service. So not sure where you get this restraint of trade idea from. Sure the selection isn’t great and a couple of the companies were Transact owned, but still very much open access. So not sure your rant about restraint of trade etc, and even if they weren’t open access if you were a company that invested money into infrastructure why should you be forced to then allow others to use it?

Anyway see below for list of Transact ISP’s.

https://www.transact.com.au/internet/vdsl2

Also the way it works is quite simple.

When Tansact rolled out to suburba (forgetting their apartment network for a moment) what they did was install their nodes in the street and then strung new multicore copper along the power poles. Quick and easy, hence why they didn’t venture into underground areas like Gungahlin or southern Tuggeraning. Then when someone wanted a service they would send a tech around who would install a new cable from the pole to the house. Never seen two separate Transact cables, but the Telstra cable was left installed. Sometimes inside the house they would cut the Telstra cable and join the Transact cable to negate the need for them to install a new socket (lazyness IMO).

Then from the node it was fibre to Transact house in Civic where the data was then separated into the various ISP’s.

Their fibre to the basement model is similar except the node is in the basement and they use the buildings internal wiring to get to the customers premises.

In the NBN world it is similar.

If it is fibre to the premises, the fibre goes from the house to fibre access node (FAN), which mostly would be housed in a Telstra exchange. Though not necessarily the same exchange that provide phone to the same house, NBN only planned to use about half the number. The FAN houses the active equipment that drives the fibre. The FAN then connects via backhaul links to one of about 120 points of interconnect around the country. In the ACT region there is one in Civic (north of lake) and one in QBN (south of lake). Here NBN hands off to the RSP’s network (read ISP’s).

The main reason for this is to limit the number of places that RSP’s need to provide service to access the NBN system. Under the current ADSL model ISP’s need to have a connection to every exchange area they wish to service, which can be expensive or they buy off Telstra wholesale which is also expensive. Under NBN they limited the number of POI’s to encourage smaller players into the market.

Interestingly some people complain about NBN speed, well the main cause of that is between the FAN and POI the RSP’s need to buy backhaul bandwidth off NBN, and many of the smaller players in particular don’t buy enough for peak demand. So your 100/40 service might be good at 2am, but at 6pm forget it. But people blame NBN not their RSP. Go figure.

On the NBN fibre to the node model, what happens is NBN installs node in the street, takes ownership (and cost of maintenance) of Telstra copper. Then when customer orders a service their Telstra service is disconnected and the physical line connected to the node.

The node connects via fibre to one of the fibre access nodes, then like FTTP back to the POI and the customers choice of service provider. In theory the node has spare fibres which can be extended to a customers premises at ridiculous cost. But not enough for every house.

NBN has also brought Telstras HFC (Coax network), and here it works much the same as fibre to the node. In fact HFC is very much fibre to the node, just using coax rather than twisted pair copper.

Interestingly in greenfield development the developer can go to their choice of provider, they are not forced to go to NBN. Some that come to mind are Telstra and Opticom. Though my understanding is any provider also needs to be an open access provider, and NBN won’t overbuild.

Which gets back to Transact and Canberra, does seem odd that Transact is open access and NBN is planning to overbuild. Would have thought it would be excluded like in greenfields.

And as much as I like to bag the current government, I don’t think they have an agenda when it comes to Transact. I just think they are clueless and Transact is small fry. And whilst the network is years old, it has been upgraded so not sure your point about the cost. End of the day if TPG/iiNET doesn’t want to sell they cannot be easily forced to sell either.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:30 pm 29 Jan 17

Chris Mordd Richards said :

Arthur Davies said :

I assume that their action constitutes a restraint on trade but no one is interested in investigating/prosecuting them for this

Their restraint on trade as you call it, is a perfectly legal capitalist monopoly, like exists in any other industry in our country. If you want to change that, stop voting for LNP or Labor.

It doesn’t matter who you vote for anymore. Global financial collapse is about to happen again. Marx was right.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/marx-was-right-five-surprising-ways-karl-marx-predicted-2014-20140130

Chris Mordd Richards Chris Mordd Richards 9:41 pm 29 Jan 17

Arthur Davies said :

I assume that their action constitutes a restraint on trade but no one is interested in investigating/prosecuting them for this

Their restraint on trade as you call it, is a perfectly legal capitalist monopoly, like exists in any other industry in our country. If you want to change that, stop voting for LNP or Labor.

Arthur Davies Arthur Davies 2:07 pm 29 Jan 17

J C’s comments are very interesting. I know that Transact installed 2 new cables from the pole (& I assume from the nearest node) to each customer, abandoning the existing old phone cable, one new cable was dedicated to the new phone, the other to data & cable TV. In my area the original phone cables were put in around 1952 & had never been replaced/upgraded, they were very unreliable & failed each time it rained. This unreliability was a major factor in my changing to Transact. The original phone cables, where they still exist, will certainly be quite unsuitable for a data connection & would have to be replaced for broadband.

I assumed the optical cable went from the nodes to the exchange, but maybe they go to a separate Transact distribution point. In any case it is a much smaller & cheaper option to connect Transact’s distribution point to the NBN system than to wire up the whole suburb from scratch.

iinet does own Transact’s network now so it would have to be taken over to become part of NBN. The Commonwealth has the power to take over an asset at any time so long as it pays just compensation, they do it with homes & farms all the time. Given that Transacts network is now years old, depreciation (which the company will have claimed in their tax return I am sure) will have substantially reduced its value. The fact that they have not chosen to do this shows me that they have another agenda, one which does the ACT no good at all.

Another problem is iinet’s refusal to allow any other provider to use their cables, so unfortunate customers are effectively forced to use iinet only. iinet are not offering good service as shown by the high number of complains to the communication ombudsman. I assume that their action constitutes a restraint on trade but no one is interested in investigating/prosecuting them for this, one has to ask why not & in whose interest it is to ignore the trade practices legislation. The fact that it is occurring in the ACT is surely a major factor.

Futureproof Futureproof 11:40 am 29 Jan 17

Yep, Queanbeyan has NBN. FTTP for me to boot. Move to Quangers. Cheaper house prices and NBN.

JC JC 7:20 pm 28 Jan 17

Arthur Davies said :

Firstly I am totally unsurprised, the feds consider Canberra bashing a good sport which gets them votes (they think) in the rest of Australia.

Our members are quite useless, I have seen no real agitation from either branch of the Laboral party, nor the greens.

Worse, a substancial chunk of Canberra was wired up by Transact years ago with “fibre to the node” & with new copper cables to the premises. This is the Govt’s current system. All it would require to connect these premises to NBN is a quick minor change at the exchange end, almost no cost & no field work is required at all. Yet we still have no NBN, given that it so cheap & quick to change over, one has to assume that the delay is purposeful & malicious.

After the vote at the last ACT election where the poor governance standards were rewarded by another term, there is no incentive to do anything. In fact given the ACT Govt’s “risk averse” policies & its look backwards to 1890s transport solutions, I am surprised we don’t have a network of strings with tin cans at each house! Unfortunately we can certainly not look forward our local polys getting exercised over this.

Two points. The change is a bit more substantial than a change at the exchange. In fact nothing needs doing at the exchange what it needs is to drop a new transact lead in to the house to the node. The whole idea of the node is it is in the street and bypasses the need for an ‘exchange’ Not hard of course.

But the biggest problem with your theory is transact is owned by a private company who is not selling the business. Though must admit I do wonder if the significant delay to parts of Canberra is so the (federal government) can somehow try and swing a sale as it is, appart from FTTP the most logical solution for Canberra.

dungfungus dungfungus 8:29 am 28 Jan 17

JC said :

A Nonny Mouse said :

dungfungus said :


Trams are what we chose… I don’t recall anyone demanding our local Labor/Green government give us our own super-fast broadband…

Get over the ‘tram’ issue! And don’t conflate a local hobbyhorse with discussion of a federal matter. It is the Federal Govt. that is supposed to be doing the NBN. It is a local govt. issue only in as much as our local representatives can try to influence better outcomes from the Federal govt, as Kim Fisher is doing by writing this article.
The only benefit from coming last is that more of us might get proper fibre to the premises. My part of Cook was shown as commenced just before Abbott got in and Turnbull became the relevant minister. It really was commenced because I saw work being done on the ground – clearing and checking pits and conduits and so on. Then the election happened and it all stopped and we were no longer commenced on the map.

Correct they had started work on cook, Macquarie, Aranda and the Belconnen town centre. Then it just stopped.

Interestingly QBN was started around the same time and its rollout continued even to the point that after the technology change it was one of the few areas to have fibre to the home in brown fields areas. Only part of the QBN are to not have fibre will be the southern section of Jerra which is being done now.

Wonder what electorate QBN is in? Hmmm.

Queanbeyan is in swinging electorates. Canberra will never have that luxury.

Arthur Davies Arthur Davies 5:34 pm 27 Jan 17

Firstly I am totally unsurprised, the feds consider Canberra bashing a good sport which gets them votes (they think) in the rest of Australia.

Our members are quite useless, I have seen no real agitation from either branch of the Laboral party, nor the greens.

Worse, a substancial chunk of Canberra was wired up by Transact years ago with “fibre to the node” & with new copper cables to the premises. This is the Govt’s current system. All it would require to connect these premises to NBN is a quick minor change at the exchange end, almost no cost & no field work is required at all. Yet we still have no NBN, given that it so cheap & quick to change over, one has to assume that the delay is purposeful & malicious.

After the vote at the last ACT election where the poor governance standards were rewarded by another term, there is no incentive to do anything. In fact given the ACT Govt’s “risk averse” policies & its look backwards to 1890s transport solutions, I am surprised we don’t have a network of strings with tin cans at each house! Unfortunately we can certainly not look forward our local polys getting exercised over this.

JC JC 5:31 pm 27 Jan 17

A Nonny Mouse said :

dungfungus said :


Trams are what we chose… I don’t recall anyone demanding our local Labor/Green government give us our own super-fast broadband…

Get over the ‘tram’ issue! And don’t conflate a local hobbyhorse with discussion of a federal matter. It is the Federal Govt. that is supposed to be doing the NBN. It is a local govt. issue only in as much as our local representatives can try to influence better outcomes from the Federal govt, as Kim Fisher is doing by writing this article.
The only benefit from coming last is that more of us might get proper fibre to the premises. My part of Cook was shown as commenced just before Abbott got in and Turnbull became the relevant minister. It really was commenced because I saw work being done on the ground – clearing and checking pits and conduits and so on. Then the election happened and it all stopped and we were no longer commenced on the map.

Correct they had started work on cook, Macquarie, Aranda and the Belconnen town centre. Then it just stopped.

Interestingly QBN was started around the same time and its rollout continued even to the point that after the technology change it was one of the few areas to have fibre to the home in brown fields areas. Only part of the QBN are to not have fibre will be the southern section of Jerra which is being done now.

Wonder what electorate QBN is in? Hmmm.

JC JC 5:28 pm 27 Jan 17

searcher3489 said :

and its a shame that TransACT was sold off to iiNet, TransACT was, for a long time, the only competitive cable internet provider putting it to Telstra…now they are part of the machine…if TransACT was still an independent Canberra-based business more people would be able to get a decent cable connection…

Also those comparing the trams to NBN, you’re putting local ACT Government priorities in the same basket as Federal Govt ones, get the facts straight!

Transact, like NBn is an open access platform. Whilst iiNET/TPG own it there are other service providers. Not much of a choice that’s for sure especially compared to NBN but better than nothing.

See below.

http://www.transact.com.au/internet/vdsl2

dungfungus dungfungus 3:47 pm 27 Jan 17

searcher3489 said :

and its a shame that TransACT was sold off to iiNet, TransACT was, for a long time, the only competitive cable internet provider putting it to Telstra…now they are part of the machine…if TransACT was still an independent Canberra-based business more people would be able to get a decent cable connection…

Also those comparing the trams to NBN, you’re putting local ACT Government priorities in the same basket as Federal Govt ones, get the facts straight!

No one is comparing trams to internet.
The reason trams were mentioned is that someone suggested the Federals wouldn’t assist funding anything in Canberra and when that person was reminded of that in fact the Federals had made a recycled assets grant of $67 million (which was applied to the tram project) the person tried to water down the import of that grant.
My facts are straight, OK?

Now some more facts about TransACT allegedly being competitive with Telstra.

This was true initially but limited because TransACT was delivering cable services via “free” electricity poles they owned in customers backyards.
That was the extent of their “competitiveness”.
When the rest of Canberran ratepayers who had underground electricity could not get access to TransACT the government forced TransACT to find a way to deliver services to all Canberrans and this necessitated TransACT using Telstra exchanges and Telstra copper wire.
That’s when it started to go off the rails.

searcher3489 searcher3489 1:08 pm 27 Jan 17

and its a shame that TransACT was sold off to iiNet, TransACT was, for a long time, the only competitive cable internet provider putting it to Telstra…now they are part of the machine…if TransACT was still an independent Canberra-based business more people would be able to get a decent cable connection…

Also those comparing the trams to NBN, you’re putting local ACT Government priorities in the same basket as Federal Govt ones, get the facts straight!

searcher3489 searcher3489 1:03 pm 27 Jan 17

funny that now the benefits of having a decent internet connection are better appreciated the need for the NBN is now being demanded instead of requested…funny that its only taken nearly 10 years since the argument for a National Fibre broadband network to change from “Why do we need it” to “WE NEED IT NOW!!” should have pushed more when Gai and Andrew were in the Government, I note that Kate Lundy was a great proponent for the NBN and her contributions are the reason why Gunghalin residents, such as myself, are able to enjoy the FTTP NBN and we should be putting more pressure on the odd couple of the Senate, Zed Seselja and Katy Gallagher to get moving and start to represent Canberrans on the issues and not their personal political agendas!

dungfungus dungfungus 12:30 pm 27 Jan 17

A Nonny Mouse said :

dungfungus said :


Trams are what we chose… I don’t recall anyone demanding our local Labor/Green government give us our own super-fast broadband…

Get over the ‘tram’ issue! And don’t conflate a local hobbyhorse with discussion of a federal matter. It is the Federal Govt. that is supposed to be doing the NBN. It is a local govt. issue only in as much as our local representatives can try to influence better outcomes from the Federal govt, as Kim Fisher is doing by writing this article.
The only benefit from coming last is that more of us might get proper fibre to the premises. My part of Cook was shown as commenced just before Abbott got in and Turnbull became the relevant minister. It really was commenced because I saw work being done on the ground – clearing and checking pits and conduits and so on. Then the election happened and it all stopped and we were no longer commenced on the map.

Your point is?

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 11:18 am 27 Jan 17

dungfungus said :


Trams are what we chose… I don’t recall anyone demanding our local Labor/Green government give us our own super-fast broadband…

Get over the ‘tram’ issue! And don’t conflate a local hobbyhorse with discussion of a federal matter. It is the Federal Govt. that is supposed to be doing the NBN. It is a local govt. issue only in as much as our local representatives can try to influence better outcomes from the Federal govt, as Kim Fisher is doing by writing this article.
The only benefit from coming last is that more of us might get proper fibre to the premises. My part of Cook was shown as commenced just before Abbott got in and Turnbull became the relevant minister. It really was commenced because I saw work being done on the ground – clearing and checking pits and conduits and so on. Then the election happened and it all stopped and we were no longer commenced on the map.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:43 am 26 Jan 17

FifiDrew said :

We live in Sutton and may as well be in Timbuktu. We can’t even get ADSL2+. Paid $89 a month for 200GB and now have to handover $180 a month for 25GB on a sh&$$y, slow mobile broadband

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2013/0129/In-Timbuktu-a-giant-task-of-reconnecting-a-remote-city-to-the-world

dungfungus dungfungus 11:36 am 26 Jan 17

Chris Mordd Richards said :

dungfungus said :

Chris Mordd Richards said :

dungfungus said :

We can’t have everything.

Trams are what we chose and trams (with wi-fi) are what we will get.

I don’t recall anyone demanding our local Labor/Green government give us our own super-fast broadband.

I suppose that’s because very few people in Canberra want to use 100 GBps.

Ok, because funding for a Federal Government Agency aka NBN Co. and funding for a local ACT Government Project aka Light Rail are completely related, yes of course silly me!

Hang on, I recall the ACT Government making big of the Federal funding they received for the light rail through “asset re-generation” (whatever that is).

And (as JC pointed correctly out in another thread) the Carnel Liberal government tried to be a technology innovator in the 1990s when they got ActewAGL involved with TransACT.

If we can have a light rail running off 100% renewables surely a Territory super- broadband would be a “walk in the park” (before the developers build high density housing on it, that is).

Really quick then im not continuing to engage this line of “debate”.

1. Asset recycling fund was providing about $63m out of the (as you all like to often quote) $1.7b over 20 years actual spend. So it represents about 4% of total budget. The big thing made was about any money at all coming from a Federal source on it, but honestly, its such a small amount, it was a symbolic argument not a significant funding source.

2. Carnell Liberal government not very comparable to the Barr/Rattenbury government, not going to compare apples with seafood, bit pointless.

3. Since the NBN has been in the works for years, and given the failure of Transact, why on earth would the ACT government want to duplicate what is being done federally and waste money doing so by trying to NBN in Canberra themselves when NBN Co is already meant to be doing it.

Your argument / points are weak at best, and just trolling at worse. And you know it, you are not stupid and we both know that. Feel free to tell me again why NBN and Light Rail are connected in your mind, but it’s only in your head, not anyone else’s, so I won’t continue to engage this ridiculous thought experiment further after this post itself. Have a great day dungfungus!

1. The actual asset recycling amount was $67 million according to Andrew Leigh and the total cost of Stage 1 of the tram was $783 million. That is closer to 9%. You can’t “water it down” by adding stage 2 and costings for 20 years because the $67 million will all be spent on the one and only stage between City and Gungahlin.
In anyone’s language that is a significant amount of Federal funding.

2. I agree with your statement that the two governments are not comparable – Carnel did a much better job.

3. The current government has “lack of judgement experience” in taking on projects that should have been left to others so why not blow another few hundred million dollars on something like our own solar powered NBN?
No one cares if they lose more money.

gooterz gooterz 11:23 pm 25 Jan 17

ACT should rip out the NBN and replace it with their own fibre to the premise.

That way they can’t call it the NBN anymore.

FifiDrew FifiDrew 9:03 pm 25 Jan 17

We live in Sutton and may as well be in Timbuktu. We can’t even get ADSL2+. Paid $89 a month for 200GB and now have to handover $180 a month for 25GB on a sh&$$y, slow mobile broadband

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site