Australia urged to use FTTdp for NBN rollout

20 Apr 2016

Australian internet user peak body Internet Australia has called on the nation's government to abandon fiber-to-the-node for the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout in favor of fiber-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp).

In a statement, Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton commented that new technology has emerged as a viable alternative to the copper-based FTTN model.

The NBN was a project of the previous Labor government, and was originally intended to use FTTP to connect more than 90% of the nation's premises.

But on assuming power the current Coalition government scrapped this model in favor of a mixed-technology method primarily relying on FTTN, using existing copper networks for the last mile, on the assumption that it will speed up the rollout while reducing rollout costs.

Patton noted that pursuing FTTdb technology would allow the NBN to temporarily use existing copper for the connection from the driveway to the premise.

Such an approach would fulfil the goal of speeding up the rollout process, and also allow this copper last mile to more easily be replaced with fiber, avoiding the need for a costly rebuild once copper is obsolete in 10-15 years' time.

“While supporting FTTdp as an interim step we remain of the view that a full-fibre (FTTP) network must be the ultimate goal. Anything less than FTTP is an inferior solution,” Patton said.

“Both the Government and the Opposition have highlighted the need for Australia to become an innovation nation. To do this will require high speed Internet connectivity on par with countries in our region also seeking to be innovation hubs.

“One of our biggest regional competitors, Singapore, already provides consumers with internet access at speeds 100 times faster than ours. New Zealand is in front of us in a number of rankings and is well ahead in its overall broadband rollout.”

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