Skip navigation

A WHITE ELEPHANT is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

The LNP is planning to install a $29 Billion dollar White Elephant near you and every other Australian urban dweller. It’s their Fibre To The Node (FTTN) NBN and you should vote against it.

The ALP FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) NBN’s projected cost is $43 Billion but only requires installation ONCE.

The LNP FTTN NBN’s cost is $29 Billion and, as Malcolm Turnbull knows but disingenuously avoids to directly state, will in short time require a complete upgrade over the Node To Premises section of each connection. Those legs (and there would be about 100,000 nodes and 15 million premises) are the most expensive part of the network. So add roughly another $35 billion to get a gut feel for your expected capital outlay.

Here is Turnbull on Lateline answering ducking the contention that his FTTN NBN may in fact be a cumbersome pachyderm:

… now, you may say in 20 years time things will be different. Well, if they’re different in 20 years time, we’ll make some further investments in 20 years time.

Turnbull knows, but chooses to minimize the fact, that the rate of Bandwidth consumption is growing exponentially and has been for several decades. The growth rate is 50% per annum. This is why the capacity of the LNP NBN will be saturated and quickly require comprehensive upgrade.

To paraphrase Michael Wyres from the Tech site Delimiter

Once the network is saturated (and the applications needing higher speeds than the theoretical top speed of the Coalition NBN are already upon us) – the only thing we can do is spend more money doing another upgrade, after we’ve already spent $29.4 billion

Indeed, FTTN networks are already being replaced in countries which have installed them. Germany, New Zealand and the UK are now gradually replacing their networks with Fibre to the Premises.

Additionally, the Coalition’s NBN would be more costly to operate. In August last year, BIS Shrapnel calculated maintenance costs for the copper network (comprising the original node-to-premises legs) could total $700 million per year i.e. $14 Billion over 20 years. Adding that to the $29 billion in installation costs, that’s $43 billion for the Coalition’s NBN plan, the same as for the ALP’s NBN, except the ALP NBN will last 40 years longer. Plus with FTTN you would also have to buy or lease the copper from the current owners, Telstra, at a capital purchase of between $4bn and $20bn. Plus FTTN uses twice as much power as FTTP.

Bottom line: The Coalition’s FTTN NBN is at least $4bn more expensive than the ALP FTTP NBN and has one-third the lifespan. And that’s before you add the cost of a complete upgrade needed after 20 years of inferior performance.

With what technology would the Coalition’s FTTN network be replaced ? Well it would be FTTP. The ALP FTTP network has a projected lifespan of 60 years and the technology would still be current and able to accommodate bandwidth needs by the time the Coalition’s FTTN shuddered to a halt. In other words, the existing available FTTP technology used in the ALP NBN offers three times the lifespan of the Coalition’s almost-redundant-now FTTP. Why not do it right first time ?

The ALP’s NBN has a viable commercial life. The Coalition’s NBN does not.

Its a White Elephant.

But on the bright side, its much better then the farcical wireless LNP NBN that Oakeshott and Windsor saved us from in 2010.

As succinctly stated by Renai Lemay of Delimeter

The Coalition’s wireless NBN telecommunications policy was a trainwreck and contributed, according to Liberal Party research, to its loss of that election.

If the Coalition had won the last election, Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure would have inched forward at a snail’s pace for the next few years [then stalled – UTMW], and there would have been no long-term solution to separating Telstra’s operations or upgrading its copper network.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: