nbn's multi-technology mix will lift Australia's broadband performance

Far from turning Australia into internet backwaters, our multi-technology mix represents a real game-changer for the Australian economy and for every individual.

One of the more common misconceptions about the nbn™ network is that incorporating existing technology into it could somehow be a bad deal for Australia.

As nbn CEO Bill Morrow has said, that criticism would be justified if all we did was purchase the copper and cables from Telstra and Optus and then spent not a cent upgrading them.

But upgrading these assets is precisely what we have begun to do. 

The technologies being used to deliver the nbn™ network are being upgraded to deliver fast speeds and carry greater amounts of data.

For instance, like other operators around the world, nbn is in the process of upgrading copper lines to deliver Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN).

This will help us meet our target of delivering at least 50Mbps to 90 per cent of homes and businesses in fixed line areas.

And further upgrades are possible if and when there is the consumer demand for them. Just look at the UK where BT believes it will be able to provide 500Mbps over copper to most homes over the next 10 years by deploying the new G.Fast technology. 

BT has said that if people require even higher speeds, it will work to deliver them over shorter copper lengths – on which 1Gbps speeds are possible over G.Fast.

At the same time, we plan to upgrade the cables currently being used for pay TV services to support gigabit broadband speeds. 

The DOCSIS 3.1 standard we are introducing is capable of supporting download speeds of up to 10Gbps and up to 1Gbps upstream.

By delivering data more efficiently, these hybrid fibre coaxial cables can deliver up to 50 per cent more data than is possible over current cable networks. 

Our job is to enable everyone in Australia to receive access to high speed broadband as quickly and as affordably as possible. The entire network is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

According to the company’s latest corporate plan, an all-Fibre to the Premises rollout would take six to eight years longer to build and would cost $30 billion more than the existing model. 

Plainly, leveraging existing assets – such as copper lines and hybrid fibre coaxial cables– keeps costs down and enables more people to benefit from the nbn™ network more quickly.

Far from turning Australia into internet backwaters, the multi-technology nbn™ network represents a real game changer for the Australian economy and for every individual.