NBN has an "upgrade path", what does that mean?

Recently, some senior figure in NBN Co was quoted as saying that there is no demand for gigabit Internet. How would he know that if no ISP offers it? I'm confident that off-the-cuff remark will come back and bite him on the ass one day soon! Anyway, NBN spruke that they have an "upgrade path" to higher speeds. Those are pretty generic lacking technical detail hyperbole!

So, my question is, for most of us folk who have FTTN, what possible physical upgrade infrastructure could there be to give gigabit speeds? Is FTTP the only way to achieve these speeds at big cost??

Appreciate your comments and insights.


  • +3

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."


    • +1

      Yep, I was also reminded of the infamous quote!!

    • +4

      "640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates (not confirmed..)
      "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." - Ken Olsen (DEC)
      "The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most," IBM to the founders of Xerox in 1959
      "We will never make a 32-bit operating system," Bill Gates
      "There is no demand for Gigabit Internet." - CEO NBN

      Do I see a pattern here?

      • Steve Jobs: No stylus, No iPad Mini, No big Iphone
        wrong wrong wrong…

        Maybe when the CEO dies, someone will prove him wrong.

        • He didn't like the stylus because John Sculley had one on the Newton PDA 24 years ago.

  • +2

    This is all I know regarding gigabit internet in Australia.


  • +2

    I believe he was referring to today, there isn't a demand for such speeds, I don't think he was saying in the indefinite future.

    My guess is he has data on the distribution of demand for all NBN speeds offered, the 12/25/50/100 Gbs and sees very little % of people willing to cough up the $ for the fastest speed.

    • +1

      which is not surprising given the ridiculous cost of our internet for the low speed and bandwidth offered, combine that with a generation of people told by telstra that shitty 12mbps max ADSL2 was good enough for all their needs and you have a very small market of people who can afford the ridiculous prices and a smaller market yet who think they need too.

      also the fact the nbn has been a government football clustertruck since the beginning with so many different things said about some people barely know whats going on they just know they are been forced to change their internet.

      • Really tries to cloud back up everything with adsl and you will feel the pain mate. I dont invest in personal nas anymore since gdrive onedrive and such offer ways better deal for 1tb plan

    • This is why if we don't change the mindset, particularly these people in ch sooner or later, in 1 -2 generations, Oz will be in 3rd world countries

      • Well the mindset you refer to is obviously the equity principle where our farmers shouldn't be disadvantaged by distance (which they are).

        So us urbanites subsidies them with higher telecommunication costs, and pulls a lot of people back from paying for faster net coz we all have a natural budget for something like the net.

        In some countries the amount we pay will get much faster net, but as others have pointed out to death, those countries have population densities many times ours.

        So if we choose to be rural friendly, this is what we have to pay. I personally don't think it's fair, coz we don't take for granted our cheap milk, where as those countries like Japan, or HK etc where net is super cheap, their fresh produce is super not cheap.

        Things like this is missed by most pundits. The overall picture needs to more discussion.

  • no demand is not the same as little demand.

    stating that no one would want a pdf downloaded seconds faster is clearly narrowminded in thinking of uses for these faster internet speeds.

    video conference anyone, video chat anyone… movie downloads and streaming.

    but hey he is right no one wants a pdf downloaded seconds faster but he should have continued with but they might want it for high definition videos. however thats not selling his half truth that no one wants faster internet.

    • +1

      This is always correct, u can never say never. And you can't say no one wants something, coz there's always someone(or small portion).

      But it's good that we don't build a network based on needs on a very few, that everyone has to pay for.

      • Yeah, who wants a rail network let's save the cash & buy more buggies and coaches.

        Yeah don't tar and level those roadways, noone will buy those gasoline powered monstrosities & anyway it'll be too hard & hurt horses' legs.

        "But it's good that we don't build a network based on needs on a very few, that everyone has to pay for."…errr no

      • Yes. Lets all wait for when we need it now like the second airport in sydney instead of building it because time will come that we will need it.

        Building such massive infrastructure projects take time. Yes there might not be demand for it now but i will guarantee time will come when we will.

        • I don't disagree, anyone who runs the argument that " so it's true the demand isn't here now, but come some indefinite time in the future it will be used" can be made about pretty much ANYTHING. and if we built based on such vague arguments it's a bit hard to see where it all stops, let alone where the money to build it comes from.

          It's not a clear black and white issue IMHO

        • @cloudy: no one is arguing for everything to be built now. just a select few infrastructure projects. ones that will benefit more people in the long run.

          when we moved to australia nearly 25 years ago there was talk of needing a second airport in sydney. fast forward to now and its long past due. this second airport needed to be here already. they havent even dug ground.

          faster internet has far wider benefits not just to individuals but to the community as a whole. if every tom dick and harry sees oh i dont need it. therefore no one else should have it. then when the need actually is there. thats when people will scramble to get it done half arsed. which is what has happened with FTTN.

          FTTN ruins the possibility of faster internet because when you have really old copper lines the possibility of getting remotely close to gigabit speeds is me with the chance of dating a super model and winning the lottery all in one go. unlikely.

        • @xoom:

          Actually, if I look around I'm sure I can find someone who is arguing for this and that to be built, a railway line from melb airport to city, a high speed rail from melb to Sydney, multiple highways in Victoria, up lifting every railway crossing in Vic, it seriously NEVER ends.

          The problem ANY government has is, if you spend government money and it's wasted, you look like a douche, and there are plenty of douches in government, so sometimes it's safer just to save the cash and wait for the business case to be undeniable.

          Who knows where technology will take us, and if something like wireless 5G becomes so rediculously good and more affordable our current NBN investment might be obsolete before the it's reached it's end life? These are all unknowns.

        • @xoom:

          Reminds me of the Sydney freeways
          Will make it 2 lanes and when we finish it will just add another there's plenty of taxpayers out there to fix our fu£k ups :(

  • +1

    "upgrade path"

    Cough up for us to do the job we should have done in the first place.

  • +1

    It was their CEO Bill Morrow that said it, we pay him 3.3 million a year…

    The technology they're talking about using is Fttdp-FTTC, the first people that will get it, will most likely be those on Optus cable, as they've now realised the Optus cable network they bought is unusable.

    These article was from this week in regards to possibility of future upgrades.



    I don't think any ISP's can offer them since NBN prices Gigabit speeds so far out of reach and ISP's probably could never sell it and profit as there won't be any demands for it because of the price. My theory is, NBN puts it so far out of reach, because a large portion of the country will realise they can't get those speeds due to being on FTTN.

    I believe only FTTP and HFC can achieve the Gigabit speeds at the moment.

    I'm still surprised that the man who ruined the NBN & poorly planned it (The budgets went over 1000% + I think they also recently bailed out/dumped more money into the NBN) is still Prime Minister.

    It's going to be a good laugh, when their estimations of how much the NBN will sell for vs what they get.

    • we pay him 3.3 million a year

      He can't possibly spend $3.3m a year, so let's just give him $30,000 and see how that goes. Same analogy right?

    • It was their CEO Bill Morrow that said it, we pay him 3.3 million a year…

      No we don't…..unless he lives off taxpayer's money…….?

  • +1

    The budgets went over 1000%

    Exaggeration destroys any point of view you have.

    Keep in mind the original budget was $43Billion

    So now its going to be $430Billion just for NBN

    And our total deficit in 2016 was to be $405Billion


    • I thought we're already in debt…where are they getting all this money from?!?! Are they minting/making some more that I am not aware of??

      • We are in debt. My point was to Kamul saying the budget for the NBN increased 1000%. Which if true would be $430Billion.

        So logic dictates that the 1000% is an exaggeration as its not 430Billion, if it was we would be 2X our total government deficit, so it's BS

        • That was a mistake on my part, I should've clarified the budget for fixing the copper that he bought went over 1000%. He said $55 Million, which ended up being $641 Million.

  • -1

    He's (Bull Bill Morrow) either an idealogue, a savvy CEO saying what his paymasters - duh gummints - want to hear or an idiot.

    He's probably not an ideologue or an idiot.

  • Apparently, there is no upgrade path to gigabit speeds if you are on FTTN. It will have to be replaced to get these speeds apparently. Who will pay for that? Maybe the compromise will be fibre to the curb and YOU pay to connect house!!

    • Can't happen. If others have fibre to the house at no cost, then it's only fair others do

      • nothing is ever fair.

        one of the earliest things said about the nbn is that the installation costs wouldn't be covered forever and people would have to cover the cost themselves if they wanted nbn at their property, i believe some already are paying but mostly as a queue skipping option, either way government schemes have covered the costs for a myriad of things in the past, solor rebate and pink batts to name a couple recent ones, no is entitled to those things forever

    • Actually g.fast is being tested in Melbourne which could bridge you from the node to the home. They got 600-800mb in early testing. Sure, it's distance limited too, but depending on where your node is (close by, or in same building like FTTB) then this could be a legit possibility.

  • Well, us lefties, know that based on research, conservatives are less bright.
    Unfortunately, the swinging voters voted for personalities, not policies & now we are stuck with a half assed NBN that's cheaper short term, but more expensive long term. They didn't want a personality, Rudd, more than wanting Labor's policies and now they have learnt (maybe not, most people are pretty stupid) with Turnbull, that personalities and their opinions pale into insignificance within the wider party & its policies.
    You the know the annoying thing about critical thinking?
    You constantly have to fight the frustration of how lazy the majority (90% +) of people are. It's a real burden.

    • Pretty sure it was the ABC who showed Vox-pops of a retirement aged couple during the 2013 campaign. The lady said: "Oh I'm just so sick and tired of all this Labor drama! with her knackerless hubby nodding and making occasional squeaks of agreement.

      Funny that we have to watch the same crap play out whilst being charged top dollar for old rope.

  • there's plenty of research and attempts focused on getting better speeds from copper, the biggest problem with it is the length it can maintain the speeds, compared to fibre optic, which is literally light, it pitiful and even the top tier efforts pale in comparison to what is possible with fibre, even if they offered gigabit speeds to FTTN customers, and their shitty copper actually held up, eventually they would hit a cap that those with full fibre would have and they'd have to upgrade, the current gov is basically banking on the fact that the eventual upgrade wont be done on their dime.

    • And by the time it's upgraded circa 2030, the people will have forgotten that the Libs have costed us more

  • No demand for gigabit internet??! What are you talking about? I want gigabit internet! That's at least one deman, not zero!

    • Context is, no demand for the likely cost, and unlikely a persons demand will change a nationally business case for infrastructure, :(, but true.

      • Oh ok fair enough, what would be the likely cost of getting gigabit internet connection assuming that it's available?

  • Upgrade from not working to possibly working in the future.

  • -3

    The NBN will be is a colossal white elephant. Never has anyone adequately explained why (1) this needs to be a government funded project or (2) why its solution is not superior to wireless. We now have both Telstra and Optus launching "4.5G" mobile broadband on the road to 5G over the next few years. This appears to be at least as fast as what the NBN is planning to offer with the obvious added convenience of being mobile. Who knows what 6G will look like when it inevitably comes along. It strikes me that by the time the NBN is actually rolled out it will be obsolete, let alon after a few years.

    • Any cellular tower is only going to be as efficient as the fibre backhaul that powers it.

      Congestion and latency will always be an issue - even for 5G as we connect more and more objects to the internet.

      • efficient as the fibre backhaul that powers it

        True for all internet connections, so even if we/you have fibre to the home, its affected by the backhaul arrangements.

        So what point are you making.?

    • It strikes me that by the time the NBN is actually rolled out it will be obsolete

      Well it wouldn't be if everyone had FTTP. Also wireless is fine with half the area using it, but once you get to the higher percentages it will drop off in performance. Also weather, line of sight, purse clutchers not wanting towers in their neighbourhood… etc

    • The NBN will be is a colossal white elephant. Never has anyone adequately explained why (1) this needs to be a government funded project or (2) why its solution is not superior to wireless. We now have both Telstra and Optus launching "4.5G" mobile broadband on the road to 5G over the next few years. This appears to be at least as fast as what the NBN is planning to offer with the obvious added convenience of being mobile.

      And this is the sort of ignorance that has plagued the NBN thanks to certain media outlets.

      For starters, look up 'shared spectrum'. 4G/5G/xG always claims such great speeds, but you get it to take even 1/10 of what the fixed network current carries (ADSL, FTTN/FTTP, HFC etc) and the network would grind to an absolute halt.

      Take a look at these stats from the ABS and see just how little data is taken over the cellular networks, no wonder they can claim such fast speeds - http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Latestproducts/8153....

      Data downloaded via fixed line broadband (2.05 million Terabytes) accounted for 97.7% of all internet downloads in the three months ended 30 June 2016

      But yeah nah, 5G will save us, what a waste of money for the NBN… (I'm assuming you'll be ok with a tower out the front of your place?) The current incarnation of the NBN is going to be a waste as it's barely a stop gap, should have stuck with the FTTP and done it properly the first time. But again, certain media outlets ran plenty of bull**** articles, that clearly plenty of people have lapped up.

    • High school physics tells you why wireless is inferior

  • Google acquired WebPass last year which is wireless to the home technology that would be a perfect upgrade to our FTTN network:

    If you ask me wireless to the home is the last piece of the puzzle for our NBN as the technology improves over the next decade. After all, I can already use my home wifi connection from the street in front of my house and that technology is 20+ years old. With new developments in focused wireless broadband I believe it is the way of the future, and Google would not have invested in this tech if they disagreed. Bring on the downvotes fibre fanbois. Assuming the technology can be developed & commercialised, using wireless to bridge the FTTN last mile is unquestionably the most cost effective way to complete our NBN.

  • From what I've been able to ascertain, each Node they have deployed has 4 optical fibres.

    Each Node currently only has two of those fibres connected (in-use), each plugged into a 1Gbps switch.

    So to increase capacity they can either add two more 1Gbps switches to the unused fibres. Or upgrade to 10gbps switching (which they deemed too expensive for the initial rollout).

    This is also the reason I have stuck with ADSL for now. There are 236 households connected to my closest node, I'm waiting to see what the performance is like once 235 households join up and start streaming at 6pm :P


    • Well looks like streaming 2160p videos is out of the question…

      • But you will never need to download pdfs seconds faster you see. Thats why you dont need faster internet.

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