Having now ready the details of the Government's proposal for the $43b investment in a national Fibre to the Home broadband network, in my opinion this will go down in history as one of the greatest decisions a Government has made in the past 50 years.

I have always said the National Broadband Network was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity and this country needed to grab it with both hands. I had been a vocal critic of the former strategy of the National Broadband Network being based on Fibre to the Node, because it was never going to deliver the world-leading broadband infrastructure this nation needed.

Already some 30 countries have started to roll Fibre to the Home on a large scale, be that driven via Government strategy or private investment. For Australia to have built a network using outdated technology it would have left this country as a technology backwater and placed us at a significant disadvantage to other countries in the Global Knowledge Economy. Now with the Government's proposal to build a Fibre to the home network to 90% of homes and business this network will put Australia at the forefront of the world digital economy.

The $43b however, I think is a little over the top on the required investment. I believe to cover 90% of homes and business with Fibre to the Premises it will cost approximately $18-19b based on the following:

60,000km of extensions to existing backhaul networks - $2.6b
Network to pass 90% if premises (7.7m @ $850 ea) - $6.5b
Connecting 100% of premises (7.7m @ $1200 ea) - $9.2b

Total cost $18.3b

This costing is based predominately a aerial deployed network. If the network is to be completely underground, then another $600 per premises would be needed, adding an additional $4.6b to the project cost.

The Government should consider the costings carefully of this network as it could mean the difference in getting the support of the Greens and Independents within the Senate to pass the required legislation.


At 09 April, 2009 15:33 Craig Askings said...

I wonder what the aerial/underground powered household ratio is in Australia? That would have some impact on the costings.

Are you assuming a PON style splitter based deployment or point to point?

I have really looked at the documents released by the government. So this ground may have already been covered.

At 09 April, 2009 16:51 Stephen Davies said...

Hi Craig,

I am assuming a Passive Optical Network style deployment. This is the most economical method of deploying such networks and such a scale.

We could look at PtP technology but this is likely to double the cost of deployment - and perhaps be inline with the Government's costings.

At 09 April, 2009 21:42 Starfire said...

1. Can you provide link for details of NBN FTTH?
2. Where did you get $850/premise from?
According to FTTH council this is very dependent on chosen deployment option. See http://www.ftthcouncil.org/documents/529312.pdf

At 10 April, 2009 18:18 Stephen Davies said...

Q. Can you provide link for details of NBN FTTH?


Q. Where did you get $850/premise from?

My own knowledge and experience in deploying FTTH in both greenfield and particularly brownfield overbuilds.

I am the most experienced person in Australia in terms of FTTH deployments. For the past 8 years I have worked in and with various organisations delivering FTTH. The cost of $850 is based on various brownfield FTTH deployments I have worked on in the past.

If you read the details of the post I comment on $850 being predominately an aerial deployment and the additional $600 per home for underground.

As far as topology is concerned for a large scale residential rollout you would only consider PON as PTP does not scale.

At 14 April, 2009 19:30 francisco joya said...

Hello Stephen, has anybody suggested to deploy fibre through sewers in urban areas? This is much safer than aerial and probably cheaper than civil works. I invite you to visit www.citynet.es
Francisco Joya

At 15 April, 2009 08:42 Mark said...

i don't understand your maths: 7.7m premises @ $850 plus another 7.7m @ $1200... is this a typo? i thought that there was about 8.5m homes in Australia, and about 10.5m lines... where does two lots of 7.7m come from?

At 15 April, 2009 09:06 Stephen Davies said...

The government annouced 90% of the 8.5m homes will be covered by FTTP. That is 7.7m homes

The $850 is the cost per home passed.

The $1200 is the cost per home connected.

At 15 April, 2009 18:02 Anonymous said...

Excuse me, gentlemen, you are always talking about Australian dollars, correct?

At 15 April, 2009 19:19 Stephen Davies said...

Yes this is in Australian dollars.


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