The race to win the rights to build and operate the National Broadband Network (NBN) is formally underway, with Telstra having lodged its $5 million bond this morning.

At the same time, Sol Trujillo was making a speach to the Macquarie - Australian Equities Conference in Sydney. While much of his speach was about Telstra's part investment in infrastructure, there were snipets on the NBN. This is an extract of the speach provided on the Now Were Are Talking web site (a Telstra marketing web site):

    This is not a game, we are making big calls here and we are making irreversible decisions, do we want to have a high-bandwidth future or not? The choice is ours as a nation, we can keep on thinking small, we can keep on compromising and getting nowhere or we can play on the world stage that's the choice here.

    … we believe in a high-speed fixed-line, high-definition future for all Australia. Not just for consumers, but for our business customers as well to allow them to compete in a global market place. This requires more bandwidth – a lot more bandwidth – to be available to all on an uncontended basis.

    BUT, to achieve a world-class high-speed fixed broadband network, it needs to be an end-to-end ecosystem that is scaleable, integrated, flexible, device agnostic, secure, widely available and FAST.

    When I say fast, I don’t mean 1, 5 or 12Mbps… I mean a minimum of 20 to 30Mbps going up 50 and 100Mbps in a relatively short period of time.

    … broadband speed requirements have gone from 256kbps a few years ago to multi-megabits per second in today's environment, largely because of the increasing amount of video and rich media content on the web.

    At Telstra, we are doing everything possible to make Australia ready for the high-speed broadband era.

    For the past three years, we’ve been undertaking detailed, complex planning. The high-speed fibre broadband network is a crucial element but only one part of an ecosystem that includes other networks as well as devices, integrated service enablement, cloud computing, software as service and content.

    Building an NBN is a task that will cost many billions of dollars… over time it is bigger than fixing the nation’s water problem and has been costed at more than $10 billion.

    The Australian Government’s proposed next generation network upgrade would be the largest fibre-to-the-node network by area in the world, covering some 9 million households and…

    … is an upgrade of the telecommunications network upon which Australian businesses and consumers rely, so it must be done 100% right or the implications will be drastic for the Australian economy.

    • It will involve doubling the amount of fibre cable in the ground around Australia and require approximately 90km of fibre per day, every day for the years that the project will run; and
    • It would require many tens of thousands of nodes to be built to reach the 98 per cent target.

    This is too important a task for Australia to appoint to those without a proven record and it is also a risky investment. An investor need to be confident that the returns on invested capital will justify the risks associated with that investment, such as potential technology changes and not be undermined by uncertain regulatory outcomes

Its an interesting speech although mixed with a few factually misleading stats like:

"Largest FTTN network in the world" - Japan already has 10million subscribers connected to their FTTH network, but I suppose Sol did say FTTN.

"going up 50 and 100Mbps in a relatively short period of time" - well I am sorry to inform you Sol, but your VDSL2 technology is not going to be able to deliver even 50Mbps let along 100Mbps unless you are within 300m of every household.

The full presentation can be viewed here.


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