FttN shot down as Gov't announces final network info for NBN

As the rest of the world looks to FttH at 20-50Mbps, telco analyst blasts Australia for still bickering over details of an outdated 12Mbps FttN network.

Telco analyst firm BuddeComm has shot down the federal government's FttN plans the morning after Senator Conroy's office released the final instruments setting out the network information carriers are to provide for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Telecommunications carriers, predominantly Telstra, are required to provide the information to the Commonwealth as it is essential for carriers or companies considering bidding for the NBN to accurately design and cost their proposals.

Managing director of BuddeComm, Paul Budde, called the release of the network instruments another delay in the process, claiming it was unlikely the information will assist others to properly design and cost a network. The federal opposition has also criticised the delays caused by the timeline of network instruments information.

"Apart from the complexity of the information that is required; it is for a network that's not going to be built anyway, since it makes no economic sense at all," Budde wrote in a media release this morning.

Despite the first sod being far from turned, Budde called the government's proposal for the NBN already out of date, stating that few countries presently rolling out next-gen broadband infrastructure are talking about FttN anymore.

"They are talking about FttH, starting with the delivery of broadband speeds of 20Mbps-50Mbps for the period 2010-2015. We are still talking about 12Mbps over that same period. What looked like a good idea a few years ago now appears to be out of date. And, we haven't even got started."

Terria, a consortium representing eight telcos including Optus, iiNet and AAPT, claimed that Telstra's interest in an FttN network is motivated by a desire to kill off competition.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said the government had received a significant amount of information from Telstra that it is ready to provide to NBN proponents, once they have certified the proper security arrangements to safeguard that information.

All carriers are required to submit the network information by close of business on August 22, after which it will be reviewed and released to proponents who will have 12 weeks to consider the information. The Government will then announce the final closing date for NBN proposals.

Budde, whose company has 45 researchers based in 15 countries, said that despite many incumbents seeing a lack of a business case for FttH as early as six months ago, a global FttH boom is now underway with tens of billions of dollars being poured into it.

"The FttH trend started five years ago, in south-east Asia (Japan and Korea) and has expanded to neighbouring countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The US is also making good progress and Europe is well and truly on its way. Britain is now seeing multiple investments in FttH, following the example of the French, where FT and its competitors began to fibre Paris and other cities in full competition with each other... And once the decision was made in New Zealand to separate its incumbent, FttH is all that is being talked about," he wrote.

"Each country has found its unique solution - not one is the same. But with investments flowing and the regulatory environment now well-defined, with the exception of the USA, all these new networks are built on the principle of open networks and equivalence of services."

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Andrew Hendry

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