Things I’d like to know about the new NBN plan

Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN strategic review came out today, and about the only thing I feel prepared to give him credit for is the fact that he did release it (mostly) for all to see. That probably isn’t really that surprising though as the expectations of the review were pretty much set well in advance and those chosen to do it were effectively writing it through FTTN tinted glasses. I’ll just point you to the #nbn twitter tag coz it’s easier than repeating it all here.

There are plenty of other people out there throwing out their own comments and dissections, and I’m far from qualified to give in depth analysis, so I’m just going to list a bunch of things that have occurred to me that I’d like to see answered sometime. As I am now one of those “in an HFC area” people, that has suddenly become a primary concern for me.

  1. HFC is now a HUGE part of the plan. How will the wholesale arrangements for that work? Will any ISP be able to resell connections using it?
  2. HFC – How will MDU’s that currently aren’t serviceable by it going to be connected?
  3. HFC – If someone is just outside the footprint for HFC, does that mean they will be connected using FTTN? So fibre will be run past all those houses with HFC to get to the node, but those HFC users won’t get to use it?
  4. HFC – given the connection contention ratios typical on HFC compared to ADSL/VDSL/Fibre, what sort of speed and bandwidth guarantees will be provided? ADSL/VDSL/Fibre is sold as a specific speed, so how will that work for HFC connected people?
  5. HFC – Will I be able to run my own servers and get a static IP address? This is a big reason why I stopped using HFC a long time ago
  6. HFC – At what point will the HFC be replaced given it won’t have the “option” for someone to do the “pay for your own fibre” thing that FTTN is supposed to have
  7. HFC – If I live in an HFC enabled area, what happens to my existing copper ADSL service? Do I have to move off it or will it stay enabled and available for wholesale services? Will HFC be connected for free or will I be forced to pay for connection?
  8. HFC – If copper and HFC are both staying enabled in an area, that means copper maintenance will still need to cover non-FTTN coverage areas. Has that been factored into the ongoing copper maintenance costs?
  9. Upload speeds – Malcolm always fobs this off with generic comments about “up to the ISP/NBNCo to decide”, but really it is a critical question that needs answering given the increasing prevalence of “cloud” services
  10. The Telstra copper – Yes, the copper. Will it be purchased by NBNCo, leased from Telstra or what? No agreement has been made yet AFAIK, so how has that been factored into the cost?
  11. Upgrade after 5 years – Is this whole country wide infrastructure project being planned only to the end of initial build in each area? Is the “upgrade after 5 years” thing factored into the costing plan or is it assumed that will be SEP (somebody else’s problem)?

More added as they occur to me. Answer will appear as/when I find them or choose to update them.

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