Thursday, 30 November 2017

What new and old media are saying about Malcolm Turnbull's train wreck of an NBN

Gizmodo, 27 November 2017

ITWire, 28 November 2017:

For months now, we've been told that fast broadband would be arriving sooner because of the change in technology that the Coalition Government decided upon, with HFC cable and fibre-to-the-node being the saviours of the project. Now that dream is unravelling.

The brakes have been well and truly slammed on by the NBN Co, with delays of six to nine months in getting any HFC connections up.

The Telstra HFC cable network is being shared by the NBN Co, Telstra and Foxtel; the NBN signal travels at a low frequency, the other two at higher frequencies. Apparently, at lower frequencies the signal does not travel all that well.

The equivalent of bandages will have to be applied. But the long-term solution will be to replace cable with fibre.

What was to have been a marathon — fibre-to-the-premises for 93%, satellite and fixed wireless for the rest — was attempted to be turned into a sprint by the agile and innovative Malcolm Turnbull.

Alas, the dream of the silver-haired visionary now seems to be dead.

His estimate of $29 billion, made in 2013, has doubled to $56 billion. His deadline of 2016 has blown out by four years. Even then, you do not know whether it will all be done.

And judging by the slow speeds on offer, the moment NBN Mark I is over, Mark II will have to start if Australia does not want to slip further into the dark ages. We are already behind countries that people here have not heard of.

All the documents that Turnbull put up on his website, claiming that the original plan would cost nearly $100 billion, have now disappeared.

Indeed, the man seems reluctant to even talk about the NBN. But that is par for the course for a politician who seems content if he can last the next 24 hours in his job. His motto seems to be taken from Holy Writ: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Ignoring the advice of technically competent people, Turnbull sought to sell Australians on a plan that promised build speed and less expense.

With three years still remaining for the scheduled completion, it looks like the contents of a box of free-range eggs is all over that handsome visage.

But hey, why should he bother? After all, to use the magic-pudding language of NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow, the HFC delay is merely "NBN Co taking (its) customer experience improvement programme to new levels".

Macro Business, 28 November 2017:

Customer anger over poor service has forced the Turnbull government to halt its broadband rollout to more than 250,000 households, fuelling growing concerns over the use of pay-TV cables to deliver high-speed internet.

The temporary delay means the NBN is certain to miss its revenue goals for this year and will struggle to meet its customer connection target by the time of the next election, turning the broadband rollout into a growing political dispute.

At issue is the use of hybrid fibre coaxial cable, or HFC, to offer broadband over the lines built in the 1990s to deliver the Optus Vision and Foxtel pay-TV networks. Malcolm Turnbull was a leading advocate for the use of existing HFC connections, upgraded over time, to deliver the NBN to millions of households more quickly than laying new ­optical fibre to every home.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow yesterday put an immediate stop to new services being sold over the HFC footprint, conceding that the suspension was necessary to ensure homes could receive a reliable, quality service over the cable. The decision will see 250,000 homes that were set to receive their NBN connection via HFC put on hold for the next six to nine months.

ZD Net, 28 November 2017:

The pause in rolling out hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) by the National Broadband Network (NBN) is due to technical issues caused by HFC not being as mature a technology as fibre, satellite, and fixed-wireless, according to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

"What we have in the case of HFC is some technical issues. HFC as a technology isn't as mature as fibre to the node, or satellite, or fixed-wireless," Fifield said during Radio National Breakfast on Tuesday morning.

"With those other technologies in the initial rollout, there were issues to be worked through. That's the case with HFC, there's no problem that's been identified that can't be fixed, they will be fixed, and HFC is a terrific technology. It can get gigabit speeds, people will certainly be able to get 100 megabits per second.

"In the United States, most people who are on broadband are on the HFC pay TV cable network."

Despite referencing the prevalence of cable broadband in the US, however, Fifield's statements that HFC is not as mature a technology as fibre flies in the face of the fact that US providers have been offering cable broadband access since the late '90s.

Telstra additionally rolled out its HFC network in Australia around the same time.

Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has meanwhile argued that the delay could cost between AU$420 million and AU$790 million "based on analysis previously approved by the NBN board".

While NBN CEO Bill Morrow on Monday said it is too early to calculate such costs, Fifield remained adamant that the network issues can be repaired without the network having to be abandoned.

Via @SabraLane, 28 November 2017

The Australian, 27 November 2017:

TELSTRA is assessing the damage to its revenue forecasts after the company rolling out the national broadband network abruptly altered its plans.

The trouble-plagued NBN Co announced it was halting parts of the rollout that used the telco’s pay-TV cables.

Telstra is now working out how much of the $2.5 billion it was tipped to receive from NBN Co this year will be delayed.

NBN Co wants to connect about three million Australian houses to its network over the cables Telstra uses for Foxtel and broadband.

But it halted use of those cables yesterday amid a growing number of complaints about dropouts and other problems from customers who had switched to the NBN.

Gizmodo, 27 November 017:

As pointed out by Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland and Shadow Minister for Finance Jim Chambers, a seven month delay in HFC activations profile would have a $1 billion impact on rollout funding.

"On 24 May 2017, the Senate had NBN confirm the $1 billion figure was based on a seven month delay, for three million services, with an average revenue of $47 per month," the pair said in a join statement released today.

"It has now been revealed that problems with Turnbull's second-rate NBN could further delay the HFC rollout by 6 to 9 months for up to 2.5 million premises."

“Real name of of the National Broadband Network is No Bloody Network”

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