Australia - National Broadband Network - Developments and Analyses 2015

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Australia - National Broadband Network - Developments and Analyses 2015

By mid-2015 over a million premises were able to connect to the NBN so far most of them have access to the original NBN, three-quarters have access to FttH, the remainder to wireless and satellite networks. The revised rollout of the so-called multi-mix technology (DSL and HFC) will start in earnest in 2016.

There still is no long-term plan for when and how to upgrade from the older technologies to proper FttH; however the Opposition has indicated that if it wins the next election it will revive the FttH plan, but will take into account the circumstances that exist at that time.

The good thing is that at this stage the NBN has bipartisan support.

Apart from a two-year delay there still is also significant uncertainty about the MTM rollout. There are lots of unknowns in this process and overseas experience shows that it is not all plain sailing and in many cases large-scale replacement of old infrastructure will be required. At the same time rolling out fibre has become significantly cheaper, especially when done by new companies, as is the case in the USA, France, the Netherlands and a number of other players in Northern and Eastern Europe. Most countries skip an MTM rollout and go straight into FttH.

As there are several telcos willing to skip the MTM and go straight into fibre networks competition is arriving in some of the multi-dwelling units (MDUs) in metropolitan areas of the large cities. Competition is heavily restricted through regulation, but companies involved seemed to be eager to compete with the national broadband network company. Also, thanks to a change in regulation, more competition is now possible in greenfield developments.

While the government in mid-2015 revived some of the digital economy strategies that were put in place between 2009-2013 there is still no holistic approach to services such as e-health and e-education. Interestingly we do see cities developing their own strategies around the concept of smart cities.

Companies covered in this report include:

NBN Co; Telekom Deutschland; Belgacom; Telekom Austria; Fastweb; Swisscom; Strata Community Australia (SCA); Telstra; Optus; AusBBS; iiNet; Internode; TPG; and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

1. Synopsis
2. Political Developments
2.1 NBN this is as good as it gets
2.2 Labor's NBN 3.0 back to FttH
2.3 After the storm do we need a national inquiry in the reliability of our telecoms networks?
2.4 Should taxpayers pay for a NBN based on MTM?
2.5 The Minister for Lost Opportunities
2.6 Staying focused on the NBN outcomes and bypassing political roadblocks
2.7 Biggest threat to NBN is political panic
2.8 The unravelling of the NBN
3. The NBN company
3.1 How independent is NBN Co?
3.2 NBN Co threat to proper broadband competition
4. Technology Issues
4.1 Whatever happened to the rollout of the fixed wireless NBN in regional Australia?
4.2 The difference between FttH and FttP
4.3 Why Australia needs a Fibre-to-the-Premises policy
4.4 Market-led demand for FttH is picking up
5. Competition Issues
5.1 Open up the metropolitan NBN market to competition
5.2 Competition in the telecoms industry is dwindling
5.3 TPG highlights the fragile NBN environment
5.3.1 Market-led vs. Government intervention
5.3.2 You cannot unravel the NBN
5.3.3 The fragility of the wholesale-only model
5.3.4 NBN is a finely balanced exercise
5.3.5 TPG exposes weaknesses in NBN retail models
6. Other Issues
6.1 Broadband services in rural Australia worse than we thought
6.2 Australia vs America what leaders say about broadband speeds
6.3 Content the next regulatory war zone
6.4 NBN-related jobs increase by 248% since review
7. Related reports
Table 1 Homes connected to fibre 2005 - 2010
Exhibit 1 Can grid power keep the internet alive?

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