Tuesday, 11 July 2017 13:22

Rebuild of NBN inevitable, say Patton and IA


Internet Australia chief Laurie Patton has repeated his previous assertions that when the rollout of the national broadband network is completed in 2020, much of it will need to be rebuilt because it will be out of date.

According to Patton, a constant critic of the NBN and the company building the network — NBN Co — a raft of surveys have confirmed what everyone knows:- “we’re increasingly unhappy about the rollout of a technically inferior NBN”.

“NBN Co has effectively admitted what Internet Australia has been telling the government for some time now. When the rollout is completed in 2020 much of it will need to be rebuilt because it will be out of date,” Patton says.

According to Patton, Internet Australia’s “globally recognised engineers” say FttN will be left behind as comparable countries move to fibre-based networks.

“It will cost billions of dollars to replace FttN, adding substantially to the total cost of the NBN,” he says.

The IA chief was speaking after NBN Co announced it had reached the halfway mark of the network rollout.

Referring to a media report on Monday in which NBN Co’s Peter Ryan admitted the company had already begun planning upgrades to the service post its 2020 completion date, Patton says, "It's a tad disingenuous for NBN Co to be talking about upgrades when what they're really facing is having to rip out FttN and replace it – either with full-fibre or at least FttDP (fibre to the distribution point/driveway)”.

“An upgrade is where you widen the road not when you build a new motorway. There’s no upgrade path for FttN, which is being rolled out to somewhere around 40% of the country,” Patton notes.

Patton cites an Essential poll last year which he says showed people now see the Internet as an essential service, like other utilities such as water and electricity:

5 October 2016

Q. Do you agree or disagree that access to the Internet is becoming an essential service – like access to water and electricity?

internet use

88% agree that access to the Internet is becoming an essential service. Only 7% disagree.

And, Patton also cites a survey last week from CHOICE showing "how unhappy we are with what we are getting” with the NBN. 

"It's time the government and the Opposition put the national interest first and agreed on a bipartisan strategy for building a 21st century NBN, one that’s future-proofed and capable of keeping up with the rest of the digitally-enabled world", Patton says.

“According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman there was a dramatic increase in complaints from NBN customers last year.

"That's just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine what will happen if they try to roll out FttN in the really dodgy parts of the Telstra network, the parts they’ve left until last. The mind boggles”.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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