Turnbull finally admits his NBN upload speed will be 4-6Mbps

Turnbull

On Monday Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was on a Google Hangout talking the NBN (as well as some off-portfolio rubbish). During the Sydney Morning Herald Hangout Turnbull faced the great question of upload speeds. He’s been quick to repeat the ‘minimum 25Mbps’ download speed, but has never confirmed what the upload speeds would be.

The reason, is that it’s not a glowing answer, around 31 minutes in, he admits the number is just 4-6Mbps. The problem is that right now NBN plans offer 100Mbps plans that have 40Mbps up. In December, NBNCo will wholesale 1Gbps plans with 400Mbps up. What this means is that upload will not be limited by the technology on a FTTP model. Upload speeds are perhaps the biggest highlight of the limits of copper over the last mile in the FTTN model from the Coalition.

Something that’s abundantly clear from Turnbull’s responses is that he doesn’t understand the YouTube generation that upload videos daily. This is where uploads count the most, user-generated content, not business generated, but user-generated from their homes. I’m guessing Turnbull has never actually tried to upload a video from an ADSL2+ connection, it’s not a fun experience.

There’s plenty other controversial content in the hangout, including claims the Australian media are lazy because they haven’t spoken to international experts (that would support Turnbull’s case).

  • RBH

    HFC covers about 1/3 of the suburban population and has seen no expansion for a decade. HFC in many areas couldn’t take additional subscribers without major investment in the network because of contention. I’m guessing you never lived with trying to run a home business on HFC when your internet choked as soon as the neighbourhood school kids got home. Sure, life goes on but just as society as a whole is more productive by not having open sewers running down our streets we will also be more productive as a whole with a ubiquitous, modern communications network.

    I could understand your reservations if our choice was between a massively expensive fantasy network or one that is within our means but that isn’t the case. We have one plan that is nearly as expensive as the other but has major question marks over the actual costs, funding model and whether it will actually hamstring retail competition while ‘enabling’ wholesale competition. The project we are currently living with has its problems but the question marks are over implementation – not what the design itself will cost. The competency of management and contractors is the same for both models.

  • funwithstuff

    While I’m not a network engineer, I do have Telstra cable. I get 115Mbps down (great) but only 2.5Mbps up. Painful for uploading video.

  • Burnzzzzz

    most remote hospitals don’t actually have fiber, they have high speed microwave links which are fading away each day.

  • Tux2

    Another network engineer:

    I have worked extensively with Telstra and know a fair bit about what they have out there.

    To put things in context. From a network future proofing point of view there is no doubt a fibre connection to every home is an ideal solution that will last us 30-50 years. Technically it is a superior solution, however, also the most expensive

    Lets assume that the NBN, in its current form, will cost 50 Billion (Labour says 38 but hey…) and the Coalitions FTTN 30 Billion.

    A fibre to the node relies on copper the rest of the way which severely limits the speed due to a number of reasons. Crosstalk in cables, already a big issue with Telstra, distance must be short (~500 m), the node cabinets will be like RIM’s, just smaller, they need power, they need battery backup and nationwide will use a huge amount of power.

    As that may be, the fundamental limit is the copper and with the projected increase in data usage growth, the fibre to the node network will reach saturation in about 2018, give or take a year or so.

    Lets say it is year 2020 to be optimistic.

    Pay 30 Billion to get a network which is end of life in year 2020 or build a network which is end of life sometime in 2050ies, assuming about 40 years life span.

    So what we are looking at is a network for the next 40 years at a cost of about 50 Billion or a network which is saturated no later than about 6 years from now.

    FTTN Annual cost per year over life time: ~5 Billion
    Current NBN cost per year over life time: ~1.25 Billion

    Optimistic productivity gain estimates are as high as 10 Billion a year on a FTTP roll-out after completion but lets say just 5 Billion to be conservative. compare that with the figures above.

    Assuming the FTTN is saturated by 2020, it will barely have been completed across the Nation by the time it is saturated.

    Now this post makes some assumptions and they may not be accurate but I believe they are not to far off.

    Telstra should have built the network and John Howard should have
    organised it when we still owned Telstra. But that is a whole different
    kettle of fish. Instead we ended up with an 800 pound uncontrollable
    Gorilla called Telstra, which is one of the main reasons we ended up with an NBN started up by Labour. People tend to forget that.

    And please stop this nonsense about cost to taxpayers. NBN is projected to make a profit long term so no tax payer exposure. Even if they are wrong (Likely), loose 20% instead of turning a profit, that is still only 10 Billion over 40 years.

    I am assuming that the Coalitions FTTN will handled the same as way as the current NBN from a budget point of view.

    I would happily have 400 million a year go towards an NBN that has productivity gains of 5 Billion a year – seems like a sensible use of money, a lot better than many projects embarked on by both major parties in the past.

    So in conclusion, FTTP is the best long term investment in what should be viewed as an infrastructure project for the nation.

    The Coalition would do well to concentrate on ensuring that the NBN is run sensibly from a financial point of view but not to tinker with the fundamental fibre to the premises model. Any other model like FTTN would cost the nation dearly in the long run as it can not be expanded or enhanced.

    Yes, I know its naive to think our politicians would think longer than to the end of the next term but something like this can only be a long strategy and must not be messed up.

  • Tux2

    My link is fibre on Telstra (Not NBN).

    It has 100Mb
    down (I get 113Mb) and 5 Mb up (I get 6). Although this is not NBN, it
    is the same technology as the NBN (GPON) apart from the fact that NBN
    has no RF overly for TV/PayTV which Telstra has.

    I used
    to have ADSL and it would sometimes crawl to dial-up speeds which many
    younger people probably never tried before (Dial-up that is).

    I
    can work from home and it is like being in the office, that’s how good
    it is. On ADSL, even when there was minimal congestion, it was only just
    possible to work from home and not that great an experience.

  • Seth

    10-15 years time? Now where did you get that figure from? Labors NBN will be finished 2 years after the Liberals, 2019 / 2021.
    100mbs is already available from certain ISPs already (right now) if you have the NBN.

  • Chip

    Ther is something missing from this debate.
    In my house we have 2 iPhones, 2 iPads and several android devices. They all want to back them selves up to the cloud (iCloud, Dropbox etc). I have had to turn this functionality off (at least on the idevices) because as soon as the iPhones and iPads are in the house they attempt to upload their backups and kill the Internet for everyone for hours.
    This predicament is common to many households and will get much worse in the comming years as more devices want to utilise cloud services like backups (or google apps or office360, etc)
    These are not ‘geek apps’ or things unique to some obscure group in society – these are things that will be greatly benefitted from an increase in upload speeds that are used by a large number of ‘normal’ people – many of whom are unaware that this is what is breaking their Internet connection and a paying techs to come and fix the ‘problem’

  • Chris

    Many people have been able to get 100Mbps (over cable) for years.
    What good is a proposed 25Mbps FTTN ?

  • Dave

    EXACTLY!!! It’s about households having myriads of devices that rely on upload speeds nowadays. Turnbull invented the internet so he should know this LOL

  • Political Football

    Malcolm Turnbull has stated while be was designing the LNP FTTN policy he “didn’t believe in it” and was “doing it to keep his boss happy”. This was a divulged in a private conversation. While you can argue that its hearsay and I explicitly believe my source on this. My point is that it gives an insight into the LNP FTTN policy as simply as an election stunt to win back voters lost at the last due to the lack of a broadband policy.

    The big question I would put to Malcolm is how do you propose exactly to obtain the copper network from Telstra. What will this “cost”? What is the value of this deal to Telstra and to NBN Co? A simply answer that they will “just give it” is a joke!!

  • listohan

    And you believe Turnbulls timetable given all the steps that have to be taken, including upgrading much of the copper (but he does not seem to know how much) so he can deliver on his increasing speed promises?

  • listohan

    Many doctors practice as sole practitioners from modest premises. They need to have access to specialists. Country people currently have to come to capital cities because specialist don’t practice in the country.

  • funwithstuff

    It’s a shame Telstra don’t seem to have the upload bandwidth to make it even better (the FTTP NBN offers 1000/400 or 100/40). At least it’s more reliable than ADSL.

  • Harquebus

    Tunbull’s NBN would suit most. What is ratio of Youtube uploads to downloads?
    I am a computer scientist and one thing I know about the Youtube generation, they are stupid.

  • Shane Twentyman

    I doubt you’re a computer scientist mate.

    If you were you might know something about cloud services. All those things like SAAS and IAAS are coming to the home market.

    The use of cloud backup services are growing exceptionally. Forget cat videos, this is why upload speeds are important.

  • Thommo

    I had to laugh. I live on the Central Coast with a railway station not 200 meters from my house and I can’t get any Internet service than mobile broadband. I was using dial-up but the complete loss of service when it rained was frustrating plus the cost of the line added on to the cost of the Internet service was about the same as a mobile broadband solution.
    My neighbors have (admittedly poor) ADSL services but there are no free ports at the exchange and haven’t been any for years (yes I’m on a waiting list). The neighbors normally get download speeds in the 100’s of KB with the occasional burst to megabyte speeds on a good day – they can run a VOIP service generally ok with one other device using the network at the same time – any more devices breaks the VOIP (I know as I set the VOIP up for them).
    I did previously have a fixed wireless link with a local provider – 10 gig a month for $80 a month but the network timeouts and occasional complete dropouts being incurred were too annoying – the supplier was using public frequencies which were constantly getting disrupted.

    As a quick note mobile broadband (I use Vodafone) is ok most of the time but like Cable Internet access it’s a shared service so when everyone gets home from work the speeds slow to a crawl and sometimes there will be network timeouts. Running a VOIP service is unthinkable and we no longer run any copper to the house whatsoever – the call quality when it rained was degraded by crackling and hiss – all calls are made and received by mobile.
    As regards data uploads – you just don’t if the file is larger than a couple of hundred Kb – I had to upload a 35 meg file (some Photo’s for a funeral service) yesterday and it literally took 3 attempts and 1 and a half hours (it was peak “getting home from work time” when I was doing it so the service was in demand).
    For the record I also have a Telstra 4g data service but unfortunately it doesn’t work where I live and drops back to 3g. I also have an employer provided Optus 3g service which gives about the same speed and coverage as the Vodafone service (at a higher price :)

  • Skeptic

    Shane is right. With the advent of the cloud, people will be uploading just as much as they will be downloading. Your self-touted credentials as a computer scientist makes you sound like an asshole.

  • giblite

    I don;t have an Iphone or an Ipad….do I have to pay for yours though?

  • giblite

    not much will change for a while anyway…there are few sites which allow me 8mb/s down speed even, we rely on other architecture in other countries….is there really any point in owning a ferrari in Australia when you can’t drive it at top speed?

  • Younger Person

    I’m 17. I’ve used computer since I can remember. I also remember using Google in 2001 over Dial up

  • Sean

    OK and we’re now going to buy the copper network back off them under the Liberal plan? That’s even more stupid.

  • Patanjali

    The Liberals feign so much concern about small business costs, but the current NBN promises to give the bidirectional speeds that any business with more than two people NEEDS to run, and a costs an order of magnitude lower than Telstra business symmetrical plans.
    Their focus on roads seems misdirected when the NBN would enable huge numbers of businesses to move to regional centre where other infrastructure costs a lot less to provide than cities, but which, until the NBN, have been hamstrung by excessive communication costs and paltry speeds.

  • Patanjali

    Plus small businesses will be able to use it and pay a 1/10th of the cost of lower speed symmetrical services from Telstra.
    I predict that the NBN will enable enough small businesses, that are not tied to specific locations or port access, to be able to move to regional centres, enabling government infrastructure costs to be much lower by redirecting them from expensive cities to cheaper regional centres.

  • Dave

    This
    is all wrong for the future. With the Liberals pushing copper for the
    last mile instead of fibre, this severely limits growth and technology.
    Might be fine for the here and now to stream movies (and as the bozo
    said on TV, download a file) but they
    have lost the plot. Take for example in years to come where I imagine
    nurses doing home medical exams such as portable MRI units. You need
    Gigabit technology to push the masses amounts of video image back to
    central hospitals. Fibre as it is can achieve a Petabyte speed today,
    let alone what the future holds. Copper is limited. Oh such small
    minds they have

  • Dread

    You CANNOT upgrade FTTN to FTTH. You’ll need to rip out the FTTN and start laying all that fibre direct to the premises from every exchange.

    So – $29 billion down the gurgler, never to be seen again .. and do you think it will only cost 37 billion in 10-15 years to put the fibre down that it was going to cost us right now? Lets be generous and say the price doubles over the next 10 years…so that the $37 billion the NBN will cost becomes $80 billion-ish, add say 5 years to build it in 2030. So $29 billion for FTTN plus $80 for FTTN means we will be paying $109 billion all up and get full NBN in 2030 …when we could have got it in 2013-2019 for $37 billion.

    Yes, the LNP are awesome economists …..

  • PatanjaliS

    So when are you going to reimburse me for the education that was so obviously wasted on you?

    Australia wouldn’t have ANY infrastructure if governments didn’t spend on it first. It is what it enables that enables the recoup of the outlay.

  • PatanjaliS

    So when are you going to reimburse me for the education that was so obviously wasted on you?

    Australia wouldn’t have ANY infrastructure if governments didn’t spend on it first. It is what it enables that enables the recoup of the outlay.

  • dawesi

    so we’re measuring the maximum speed by the minimum speed now? Good one idiot!

    4Mb is almost three times what my current speed is (on new copper on a new exchange – 350m away)… and with NBN more than 5 years away, i’d rather have an ADSL2+ 20M connection (more than enough for any home), than nothing under NBN.

  • GaLuburt

    Malcolm That Very Shit. You have told To many Lies but I have an idea that may work and cost far less. Its Called The NBN

  • GaLuburt

    I like you Malcolm and I respect you far more than any other party member you deserve much respect I honestly hope you can deliver a solution better than or equal to NBN because from here foreword Liberal want to be known for far more than just hoarding money and building nothing. Build something Awesome. C’mon.
    Kind Regards

  • http://www.friv2friv3friv4.com/ friv 2 friv 3 friv 4

    While I’m not a network engineer, I do have Telstra cable. I get 115Mbps down but only 2.5Mbps up.

  • Nulland Voidsky

    Fast upload speeds will revolutionise the internet. You can’t host your own website on your own computer without a fast upload rate. Just imagine if everyone could host their own personal website on their own computer… no web hosting company… no limitations of what the hosting company supports… it is this future that makes our tax money well spent on an NBN. Just giving everyone faster downloads just gives everyone a bigger straw to suck content from the big companies. Free the net, free the content, free the users! Make the internet a true internet instead of a feeding trough with the content from the highest bidder on the top. Nulland Voidsky

  • Nulland Voidsky

    Fast upload speeds will revolutionise the internet. You can’t host your own website on your own computer without a fast upload rate. Just imagine if everyone could host their own personal website on their own computer… no web hosting company… no limitations of what the hosting company supports… it is this future that makes our tax money well spent on an NBN. Just giving everyone faster downloads just gives everyone a bigger straw to suck content from the big companies. Free the net, free the content, free the users! Make the internet a true internet instead of a feeding trough with the content from the highest bidder on the top. Nulland Voidsky

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  • Jeremy Kuiters

    HFC isn’t serving the majority of the area it covers. The CBN (Coalition broadband Network) seeks to use HFC as a wholesale network, which means that it will be serving several times as many consumers as it does right now. At that time you would not be able to sell a 100Mbps service to a customer without first making sure they are the only one ordering that speed. Even after their HFC upgrades are done they expect that during the heaviest peak periods everyone on the network will slow to 4-7Mbps download. The CBN will leave everyone on HFC and FTTN completely stranded with speeds usable for 2013 needs in a 2020 and beyond world. In information technology and the exponential growth of upload demands via the cloud, 90%+ of all Australians will realise (by hindsight, once we get to 2020) that FTTN/HFC is/was a terrible idea.