Why Telstra’s FTTN network is a furphy, was a furphy and is always going to be a furphy

I just posted this comment at Whirlpool at about Telstra’s proposed “Fibre to the Node” network.

Thorpiedo wrote:
Some of Telstra’s proposals are outrageous, but some (i.e. FTTN) would solve many problems we currently face with the availability of higher-speed broadband in this country.

Not really. Telstra has said its FTTN network will cover five capital cities only… it will have nowhere near the reach that the current copper network does.

Now, if you’re talking merely about availability of HIGHER-speed broadband (>1.5Mbit/s), then yes, but that is just the carrot that Telstra is using to lure the donkey… the donkey being the government and the voters, and the outcome being Telstra being able to lock out competitors from viably offering broadband over the last mile copper network.

The truth is that Telstra doesn’t need to roll out fibre in order to offer higher speed broadband. It could do so today by removing the 1.5Mbit/s speed limitation on its ADSL1 service. Many people would be perfectly happy with 8Mbit/s.

Telstra could also switch on the many ADSL2+ DSLAMs it already has deployed in its network. People have been quick to forget that before this Trujillo fiasco, Telstra had been saying for months and months that it was busy upgrading its DSLAMs for ADSL2+ compatibility, and it was expecting a mid-2006 launch of the service.

Finally, it is only proposing to offer 12Mbit/s broadband even through its FTTN network, which other ISPs have demonstrated can be delivered to most customers through DSLAMs installed at exchanges, using existing line lengths.

With its FTTN network and dramatically shortened copper line lengths (1.54KM) Telstra could actually offer speeds closer to 20Mbit/s.

In summary, FTTN is ALL about removing the ability for competitors to viably offer alternative ADSL services outside of Telstra’s ADSL1 wholesale network, and NOTHING to do with offering faster speeds.

(Yes, Telstra says competitors are free to cross-connect to the 20,000 fibre nodes it said it would need to roll out, but really, which competitor could afford to do that, and before you say Optus/AAPT/Vodafone, would they really be stupid enough to repeat the duplicate infrastructure fiasco that occurred in the cable days?)

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10 Replies to “Why Telstra’s FTTN network is a furphy, was a furphy and is always going to be a furphy”

  1. Dear Dan,

    Get out there with a few Telstra linesmen. Sure you can get high speeds out of ADSL 2 depending on geography and weather. Thank god for the drought -it’s kept the cable dry. But like it or not much of the copper is or will shortly be in need of renewal. The current network is deteriorating and will deteriorate further. What do you suggest we replace copper with copper. As an anology it would have been like railway companies in the first half of the 19th century not replacing the original iron track with steel – great news for gangers but not for anyone else. If you want access to high speed broadband to be an accident of geography weather and when the copper was put in stick with the ACCC and G9. Frankly energies would be better spent on developing a new regulatory approach for the age of FTTN and NGN rather than fighting yesterday’s regulatory battles in a rapidly changing environment.

    Regards,
    kevin Morgan

  2. Dear Dan,

    Get out there with a few Telstra linesmen. Sure you can get high speeds out of ADSL 2 depending on geography and weather. Thank god for the drought -it’s kept the cable dry. But like it or not much of the copper is or will shortly be in need of renewal. The current network is deteriorating and will deteriorate further. What do you suggest we replace copper with copper. As an anology it would have been like railway companies in the first half of the 19th century not replacing the original iron track with steel – great news for gangers but not for anyone else. If you want access to high speed broadband to be an accident of geography weather and when the copper was put in stick with the ACCC and G9. Frankly energies would be better spent on developing a new regulatory approach for the age of FTTN and NGN rather than fighting yesterday’s regulatory battles in a rapidly changing environment.

    Regards,
    kevin Morgan

  3. hey danny who needs fttn? I heard that telstra have wireless broadband coverage all over bass strait. why dont you go live on a boat?

  4. hey danny who needs fttn? I heard that telstra have wireless broadband coverage all over bass strait. why dont you go live on a boat?

  5. Talk about a furphy. It would be nice if you journos and others who have influence in these matters would direct your attention to what broadband plan the average punter at home is able to access in Australia right now. This talk about 12Mbps and faster sticks in my craw. Hell, I would be happy, no ecstatic, to be able to access 1.5Mbps with a usable download limit at a reasonable price. I currently pay $35/month for 256kbps with 5GB/7GB download limit. Pathetic and an exercise in frustration to do simple things like play/download video or movies. For me to access 1.5Mbps with the same download limit will cost me $50-$60/month. What average punter at home can afford that?. Until I can access my current level of service at 1.5Mbps and pay a more than reasonable asking price of $35/month, all further discussion is total BS.

  6. Talk about a furphy. It would be nice if you journos and others who have influence in these matters would direct your attention to what broadband plan the average punter at home is able to access in Australia right now. This talk about 12Mbps and faster sticks in my craw. Hell, I would be happy, no ecstatic, to be able to access 1.5Mbps with a usable download limit at a reasonable price. I currently pay $35/month for 256kbps with 5GB/7GB download limit. Pathetic and an exercise in frustration to do simple things like play/download video or movies. For me to access 1.5Mbps with the same download limit will cost me $50-$60/month. What average punter at home can afford that?. Until I can access my current level of service at 1.5Mbps and pay a more than reasonable asking price of $35/month, all further discussion is total BS.

  7. whirlpool.net.auwhile i agree that the FTTN network is defenately a ploy to gain government and public support, i honestly dont see the big deal, 8mb is fine for me, and you dont necessarily have to go with telstra, companies like TSN use their own lines etc and can offer >1.5 mbit speeds at fairly low prices(

  8. whirlpool.net.auwhile i agree that the FTTN network is defenately a ploy to gain government and public support, i honestly dont see the big deal, 8mb is fine for me, and you dont necessarily have to go with telstra, companies like TSN use their own lines etc and can offer >1.5 mbit speeds at fairly low prices(

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