Tag: National Broadband Network

Local Government to become an Internet provider option in Australia


Watch out Optus and Telstra: local councils want to become NBN internet providers | The Age

My Comments

Tree on a country property

Local government could also improve the reality of proper broadband in the country

As the Australian National Broadband Network’s technology option changes towards something akin to BT Openreach in the UK which is based around a fibre-copper technology, another option for service provision is creeping in to the equation.

This is where some local councils are stepping in to become local retail Internet service providers with the NBN as a wholesale backbone. This kind of practice has been tried in Australia for some utilities normally sold by a larger government-owned or privately-owned entity that has a larger geographic remit. An example of this is the retail-level sale of electricity to the consumer by some local councils or entities ran by these local councils, one of which was the former City of Box Hill in Melbourne.

As far as Internet service is concerned, some local governments have provided free-access Wi-Fi hotzones in their towns’ central-business-districts in the USA. This was much to the ire of established incumbent telecommunications providers and cable-TV companies who see this “threatening their patch”. It also raised the ire of Republicans, especially those supporting the “Tea Party” agenda, along with various libertarian and pro-business think-tanks because this was appearing to be government having a strong hand in the provision of public Internet service.

Some people can easily see this as a “do-good” effort by local government to raise the digital-access standards in their neighbourhoods of remit such as by, for example, using council rates to cross-subsidise the prices charged to householders for the communications services. This could be targeted at households who are on limited means like pensioners or people looking for work, or could be targeted at community organisations and small businesses that the council is nurturing.

House that may be fixed up

Local government being involved with providing Internet could raise the value of a neighbourhood

Similarly, the councils could use their power as retail ISPs to pay the NBN to equip neighbourhoods with fibre-to-the-premises or equip rural settlements or townships not considered large enough to equip with a fibre-copper service with one of these services. This would be part of their effort to invest in their cities and towns by raising the bar for Internet service in these areas, thus bringing in one or more valuable employers or raising residential property values.  This same effort could also be about making it harder for NBN or a retail carrier or ISP to postpone setting up a neighbourhood for next-generation Internet because it is on the “wrong side of the tracks”.

To see this work properly, local government has to realise that they will be competing with other retail telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers when reselling consumer and small-business telecommunications and Internet service.

If the idea of a local council obtaining a carrier licence and setting up as an ISP doesn’t play properly, they can do what has been practiced in Europe. This is where local government, along with a local chamber-of-commerce actually pays NBN to install fibre-to-the-premises through the town as a way to raise the property values or draw in the high-value employers.

At least the local government in Australia are seeing the potential that the National Broadband Network has and are looking towards taking it further to improve that town.

NBN to consider FTTN in regional areas


NBN Co ponders rural reversal | The Australian

My Comments

With the NBN considering moving regional areas to Fibre-to-the-node technology, we need to be aware of other similar developments taking place in UK and Germany where similar technology is being deployed for next-generation networks.

Here, we need to know of any deployment mistakes that have been made in these countries and are at risk of being made here. This includes connections that have or are likely to impede operation of the technology as well as catering to the changing landscape that will affect these areas, which is a fact as a town expands and farmland is subdivided for multiple housing projects. It is also why the concept of adaptability is very important when working on a next-generation broadband infrastructure

In the same context, the concept of adaptability  is important as a way to allow customers to buy increased broadband which I would say is important for professionals working from home or if the concept of “fibre to the basement” / “fibre to the building” is to be realised for subsequent multi-tenancy developments that occur in the neighbourhood.

What we need to be sure of for a next-generation broadband service is a competitive highly-adaptive system that can suit the way neighbourhoods change.

What are the realities concerning the NBN and Foxtel


NBN is good for business: Foxtel unpicks PM’s conspiracy theory | The Australian

My Comments

One of the comments that has been raised through this election campaign about the National Broadband Network was that it would hurt Foxtel’s traditional business model.

Foxtel, like Sky in the UK, are a pay-TV provider that has control over its own infrastructure, whether through access to satellites or the HFC-based cable network. This provides for “end-to-end” provisioning and management of the pay-TV service with a set-top box installed at each TV set serving as the service provider’s point-of-control in the customer’s home.

Compare this with the IPTV model that the NBN will facilitate and which is being encouraged with Google Fiber in Kansas City, USA, the French “triple-play” operators, and FetchTV and T-Box / BigPond Movies in Australia where these services are transmited using the same bandwidth and infrastructure as your Internet service.

Infact the Internet-driven model is becoming a reality for the pay-TV industry in may different ways.

For example, this model, coupled with the next-generation broadband services like the NBN could support the next-generation 4K ultra-high-definition TV technology which yields pictures that are sharper and more detailed than current-generation high-definition TV. In this case, it could come in handy with pay-TV’s “bread-and-butter” content which are the premium sports channels that carry live broadcasts of sporting events and a pay-TV provider could bring this content through to those of us who use 4K UHDTV technology without reinventing the wheel.

The IPTV model allows Foxtel, Comcast, Sky UK and others to compete in the crowded “content-on-demand” market when it comes to keeping their premium movie and TV-program services relevant. This is through offering a portable “content-on-demand” service with either streaming or downloading abilities and a large content library.

There is also the cost savings that the IPTV model could yield where the pay-TV provider doesn’t have to be sure they have access to cable and satellite infrastructure to distribute the pay-TV service. Similarly, they could benefit from the use of software as a point-of-control when “platform-based” devices like smart TVs, games consoles, tablets and the like are used or can implement the point of control in carrier-provided Internet-gateway devices. It also has opened up new directions for Foxtel such as the provision of the Play and Go IPTV services which are offered more cheaply than the traditional services that are based around a PVR set-top box associated with cable or satellite infrastructure.

To the same extent, it could also be more cost-effective to provision viewing endpoints with the pay-TV service through the use of the software which could open up the feasibility of including a household’s TVs and other devices in one subscription without the customer having to pay anything extra. In a similar way, a household doesn’t need extra infrastructure to gain access to pay-TV service because they use the existing Internet connection; as well as allowing some portability for pay-TV subscriptions.

What really has to happen is that pay-TV services have to evolve to the newer IP-based business models that NBN and other next-generation broadband services facilitate in order to keep themselves afloat. They can still offer their subscriptions and pay-per-view but use this technology to work a leaner, more capable and cost-effective service.

May the bull artists who seed doubt about the NBN harming Foxtel please cut the nonsense!

Can a fibre-copper next-generation broadband network be considered economical for all brownfield developments?

The recent NBN announcement put forward to the Australian people by the Coalition has determined that a fibre-copper setup is a more economical method for delivering the broadband service to already-developed (brownfield) locations than the fibre-to-the-premises setup that Labor is running with. There are some countries like the UK and Germany who run these networks, mainly with the option of full fibre deployment as an option.

The kind of talk I am raising here may work against the “preferred” idea of using existing copper infrastructure in existing condition for delivering next-generation broadband to the customer. This is because of certain realities concerning the existing infrastructure, such as a copper network that was engineered for an area that was more sparse than the current occupation density or a network that needs a lot of attention to provide reliable and optimum service.

A copper network that suited a sparse development

But I see the issue of a fibre-copper network as being area-specific for each brownfield area. Here, this could depend on the density of the brownfield area such as the concentration of multiple-tenant developments or the existence of many smaller properties since the copper network was established.

In this case, one may have to factor whether the copper network may need to be revised to cater for this increased density or whether the point of exchange between the fibre backbone and the copper network needs to be moved closer for some developments. For example, a large apartment block like some of the ones on the Gold Coast or St Kilda shoreline; or a large shopping centre like Doncaster Shoppingtown or Knox City may find that it is better to have a “fibre-to-the-building” approach with the point of exchange in the development.

Older copper networks that need extensive repair work

A copper telephony network that has been neglected by the incumbent telephony provider may need a fair bit of attention to have it work at an optimum speed for a fibre-copper broadband development. This can be more so for those networks that exist on peri-urban, regional and rural areas where there has been minimal investment in these areas.

The network may “just work” with voice telephony or baseline fax applications but may not perform as expected for a DSL application as I have written about before. In some cases, the customer may not even benefit from a reliable DSL service, and the VDSL service is most likely not to be as fault-tolerant as the existing ADSL technology.

If there is a planned fibre-copper deployment, it shouldn’t be just a case of installing a street cabinet and connecting service wires and the fibre backbone to that cabinet. In some cases, it may be about surveying the copper infrastructure for pair-gain setups, decrepit wiring / connections and other situations that may work against optimum VDSL service. Here, it may be worth dong a comparative cost analysis on remedial work for a copper infrastructure to see whether rolling out new fibre or copper infrastructure would be cheaper than doing many repairs to existing decrepit infrastructure.

This kind of work may benefit the retail Internet service providers in the reduced number of customer-service issues due to substandard service, thus providing a positive customer-service image for them.

I would therefore argue that not all copper telecommunications networks that exist in brownfield areas can be the economical basis for a fibre-copper next-generation broadband setup unless they have been surveyed and found to provide reliable service for the area concerned and the technology that is being considered.

An interesting treatment about the way the NBN is covered in Australia

Article (Broadcast transcript)

Media Watch: The difference between advocacy and analysis (11/03/2013) – Video and transcript through this link

My Comments

Very often, the media conversation about the National Broadband Network in Australia is so polarised.

The agenda amongst the technology community (including HomeNetworking01.info), the ABC, the Australian Labor Party, the Fairfax metropolitan press and other progressive groups is that the NBN should be primarily the fibre-to-the-premises setup. Conversely, the agenda amongst the business press, Sydney commercial talkback radio, The Australian,  the Liberal-Party / National-Party Coalition and some other conservative groups is to implement a fibre-copper setup especially in brownfield areas due to it being considered the cheaper option. Some of this talk suggests the use of coaxial-cable runs for the copper run rather than VDSL2 (existing telephone cable) or Metro Ethernet (new RJ45 cable) for these runs.

In some cases, a lot of this talk plants seeds of doubt in the uninformed about whether we need next-generation broadband service or not and this can cause people to reject this kind of service. This was something I had observed through a conversation with a friend of mine who lives in Sydney and heard a lot of this talk through the Sydney commercial talkback radio. He has asked me whether we really need the NBN or not and what costs would be borne by us when we sign up to the service. Here I raised issues like NBN being a carrier for IPTV-based pay-TV as a key needs-driver; as well as the issue of free “to-the-door” cable like with telephony for urban areas.

I have been observing the UK and France situation where there has been real Internet-service competition including some fibre-based next-generation-broadband rollouts. In the UK, there have been the likes of Gigaclear running next-generation FTTP broadband to various villages which I have covered regularly on HomeNetworking01.info. As well, I have observed France’s highly-competitive Internet services, including the use of infrastructure competition (zones dégroupée for ADSL and multifibre FTTH for next-generation broadband). Some of these deployments also have had local-government financial assistance as well as, in some cases national or EU financial assistance.

Sometimes it is hard to sort out the real information from the rhetoric and this can be of concern for the consumer or small business owner who is thinking of a future-proof Internet service for their needs/

Would the NBN necessarily bring higher costs to its end-users?


Few NBN customers report higher bills after switch | The Age (Australia)

My Comments

There is a key issue being hammered out concerning the National Broadband Network, especially by the Federal Opposition and, to some extent, Sydney’s talkback radio hosts. It is where signing on to NBN ultra-fast broadband Internet service is going to lead to fixed-line Internet bills that are more expensive than with a legacy ADSL or cable service?

The article suggested that the costs would be the same or cheaper than the legacy Internet service. One situation that could cause this to happen is that a customer who moves on to National Broadband Network may use this as a chance to “right-size” their Internet-service package to their use. This can extend to the reality with most of these services that are sold by “data allowance” where people purchase more than they really use so they can create a buffer for sudden usage spikes. This also allows the customer to end up with a predictable bill that they can budget for.

Similarly, IP telephony including Skype, works as a cost-saver because you could effectively place long-distance calls for “pennies’ worth” or more likely for free, compared to paying an expensive bill for these calls. This includes the ability to have FM-radio-grade voice telephony on these connections as well as videocalls of the science-fiction calibre.

I also wouldn’t put it past the retail NBN carriers to follow France’s example and sell n-play service with broadband Internet, telephony, pay TV amongst other services on the one competitively-priced package.  But on the other hand, could we be seeing more of the “over-the-top” telephony and TV services being used with the National Broadband Network?

Sometimes we have to sort out the reality from the rhetoric concerning the next-generation broadband Internet services and pay attention to other larger countries who are operating these services already.

Action taking place to make it easier for strata-based buildings to connect to NBN


NBN Co, strata tie-up to ease fibre into unit blocks – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au

From the horse’s mouth

Strata Community Australia

Registration Page (work in progress, check back regularly)

My Comments

Apartment block

A typical strata-titled apartment block

There is action taking place to make it easier for strata-based multi-dwelling buildings to connect to the National Broadband Network. Primarily this is where each unit (flat, home unit, office suite, shop, etc) is owned by an individual who either occupies it or leases it out, but the building is ran by a “body corporate” or “owners’ committee”.

At the moment, where there is National Broadband Network constactivity in your area, someone representing the “body corporate” has to register the multi-unit development with the NBN in order to have it prepared for this technology.

There isn’t the opportunity for a “body corporate” to register their development ahead of time in order to have the arrangement in place. If this existed, it could allow the “body corporate” to plan well ahead for equipping their building with NBN fibre-optic cabling.

Why show interest in setting up that building for NBN?

Whether you are a resident of an apartment in one of these buildings or are a member of a body corporate / owners’ committee for that strata-title development, you may have doubts about the relevance of the National Broadband Network to your building.

The National Broadband Network is relevant to the online lives of those of us who live or work in these buildings. This fibre-optic next-generation network provides a data bandwidth that is higher than what we normally have for an ADSL-based or cable-modem-based broadband service.

This can underscore the ability for most of us to work from home or have a real business-grade broadband service which can do more at our office suite or shop. As well, the broadband Internet service is becoming the sole path for communications and entertainment data with such things as VoIP (including Skype), IPTV (including video-on-demand / catch-up TV) and Internet radio / music-streaming services.

What happens after you register the building?

When the NBN start working in your building’s area

The legal owner or strata manager for the building will receive contact from NBN to verify the registration for this work.

After this is done, the residents or occupants will receive a mail drop in their letterboxes regarding the NBN work.

One strata manager, the Strata Management Group recommend that a body-corporate should convene a special meeting about the NBN when they receive this initial contact. This can make the whole of the body corporate aware of what is going on and how it concerns the building. This can include issues like awareness of ducting and conduits that are already used to channel telephone and other low-voltage cabling, wiring closets or equipment rooms where the NBN equipment can exist and where the service demarcation points for the apartments should be. This is also the time to identify the body-corporate representative who will liaise with the NBN through the installation phase.

As well, I would suggest that you look through articles and videos published on the Internet from Europe and other countries where fibre-optic broadband deployments have taken place to see how apartment blocks and similar buildings have been wired up for this new technology.

Installation Phase

There will be further contact with the body-corporate representative with a letter that outlines the inspection and installation activities

These will encompass the drafting of the layout for the fibre-optic wiring with an initial survey of the building. Here, they should look for any plenums or ducts that are being used to run telephony, TV-aerial, cable-TV or similar wiring and, if possible make use of these spaces.

Then the NBN crew will pull the fibre from the street to a connection box outside each unit / apartment. Here, you may have to have the occupants aware of the technicians working through the building especially in relation to safety. This is more so with elderly people or parents with young children. As well, it is also worth identifying whether the technicians need to be in any apartments while pulling through common fibre-optic cabling. This issue may be of concern with access to the apartment as well as assuring the occupants of their privacy.

Connection phase

In this phase, the NBN service will be switched on from the street in to the common wiring infrastructure. The residents or occupants will receive in their letterboxes a mail drop about the availability of National Broadband Network service in their building, with advice to contact their preferred service provider to sign up for service.

When the resident orders the next-generation broadband service, NBN will send technicians to wire up service within the apartment / unit and install the ONT (fibre-optic modem).

At this time, I would recommend that the “body corporate” supplies further information to the residents or occupants about what the NBN next-generation broadband is about as part of the regular newsletter or magazine.

This includes awareness that the ADSL modem-router or cable-modem-router won’t be of use anymore unless it has Ethernet broadband connectivity. Here, the residents or occupants connect to Internet using a broadband router that has Ethernet WAN/Internet connection with this connection plugged in to the optical network terminal provided as part of the NBN install.


This article will make you, whether as an occupant of a flat or a member of a body-corporate, aware about having that multi-unit development set up for the next-generation broadband Internet service that is the NBN.

On-demand FTTP broadband–could this be a real advantage?


thinkbroadband :: Will FTTP on-demand be available from 18th March?

My Comments

Openreach, who are facilitating the next-generation broadband service in most of the UK, are offering a fibre-to-the-premises Internet service as a user-selected extra-cost option alongside the standard fibre-to-the-cabinet with VDSL2 copper link. Initially the price for the fibre-to-the-premises service was to be £1500 but they were to revise the price table with a baseline £500 connection fee and service charge that depended on the “charge band” you were in.

The service was being thought of as being suitable for small business, but extra commentary described it as being relevant for those of use who are working from home, which I would see as a growing trend.

Various comments that were put on this article related the service as being a “value-added improvement” for your home with one person relating it to having piped natural gas to your home rather than the heating-oil or propane-gas held in a tank or cylinders at your home.  Here, we were thinking of reliability and bandwidth issues that come about with the copper link especially if this link was with older or derelict wiring.

Of course there were doubts raised on subsequent property owners wanting the FTTP service due to it being being of higher cost.

I see this article and its comments as being of importance for people in Australia as the Liberal Party consider the National Broadband Network with the fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure as a waste of money and they would rather that existing areas use fibre-copper infrastructure technologies.

If they are so hell-bent on the idea of fibre-to-the-premises being a waste of money for National Broadband Network and want us to buy the fibre-copper idea, why can’t they offer the fibre-to-the-premises technology as an option that has the connection fee only paid at the initial installation? Similarly, there are those of us who do work from home or run a business from home and we would consider to have as much bandwidth especially if we use it for remote data storage or video conferencing.

Therefore the option of providing fibre-to-the-premises broadband at an upgrade price affordable for most small businesses and home-based workers / entrepreneurs while there is a fibre-copper infrastructure for a next-generation broadband service is very important. Similarly, multi-unit developments must support fibre-to-the-building so that each occupant has the proper full bandwidth available to them.

Fixed-wireless and satellite NBN bandwidth to increase for the bush


NBN wireless, satellite speeds to double

From the horse’s mouth

NBN Corporation

Press Release

My Comments

Rural Internet in Australia is to get a shot in the arm with the National Broadband Network to double the bandwidth available for the fixed-wireless and satellite rural services. This is through a technical improvement that is being made available for the satellite

The quoted improvements are from an initial 12 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to 25 Mbps download 5 Mbps upload. The NBN spokesman was even saying that the speeds would be better than the current ADSL2 copper deployments in urban areas. I would see this as yielding some real bandwidth for today’s requirements, especially catering for teleworking, small business and farming requirements as well as families separated by distance due to people heading for the country.

An issue to raise is how much of this bandwidth would be shared amongst the rural households and this could become an issue when neighbourhoods become more dense which can affect the the rural areas as people move to these areas. Personally, I would like to see some of the denser areas like small towns be able to consider the fibre-optic technology. On the other hand, the NBN fixed-wireless technology could support a “master-antenna” setup for those dense neighbourhoods that are at risk of experiencing reception difficulties due to topographical constraints.

At least this is the right step towards real Internet for people who live in the rural and remote areas in Australia.

4K video to benefit from next-generation broadband


NBN clears the way for 4K video

My Comments

The CES 2013 in Las Vegas that occurred in early January was used as a showground for 4K ultra-high-definition TVs. These sets could upscale content from the regular-definition and high-definition content that comes from TV broadcasts, DVDss / Blu-Rays and other sources. Similarly there were a significant number of 4K-capable camcorders pitched at personal and “prosumer” users being pitched at this same show.

But the big question that was raised was how to deliver the video content that is natively ultra-high-definition to the people who bought these sets? Recently a satellite-delivered 4K channel as delivered as a proof-of-concept in Europe. As well, Sony demonstrated a BD-ROM / hard-disk content distribution system for this video resolution.

The standards bearers in the broadcasting and consumer-electronics space have called standards for optical-disc “packaged content” or broadcast-television distribution for this 4K content yet. But they are working on a universal AV compression standard for 4K to transfer via cable broadband systems.

What I see of with 4K UHDTV is that it could work hand in glove with next-gen broadband infrastructures like NBN, Gigaclear and other fibre-to-the-premises setups as this article proposed. Here, it could work with a multicast infrastructure for traditional scheduled-broadcast content or with regular QoS-assisted unicast setups for video-on-demand content.

I also see that the the higher bandwidths that fibre-to-the-premises broadband services would need to be present to customers who sign up to the 4K IPTV services so as to achieve an ideal viewing experience.

Of course, this year will show what can be offered for this ultra-high-definition video technology especially when it comes to content delivery rather than just the many screens out there.