Gigabit NBN to 90% of Australians under Albanese Labor Government

The NBN has once again emerged at another election. As part of the Australian Labor Party’s policy platform for the 2022 Federal Election, the NBN will form a key policy difference between them and the Liberal/National Coalition.

If Anthony Albense and his team are elected to Government on Saturday, May 21st, they will work to upgrade the NBN to increase the internet speed of hundreds of thousands of Australians.

Labor has committed to expanding the full-fibre aka Fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) footprint to over 10 million premesis. This means 90% of Australians in the fixed-line footprint would be upgraded.

Remember when the NBN was first conceived more than a decade ago, Labor had big plans for it and originally had the plan to cover 90% of Aussie homes and businesses with fiber optic connections, capable of carrying up to 1Gbps speeds.

After the Coalition took power, this plan was modified in an effort to decrease costs, and speed up the rollout. Ultimately the network was classified as being completed in recent years, however, many Aussies were left unhappy with the resulting connection.

Many households are currently speed limited by the technology, often connecting using Fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) where a fiber cable comes closer to you, from the Point of Interconnect (think of this like the old Telstra exchange), but stops at a node at the end of your street (up to 1km away). From the node to your home, still leverages varying quality of copper cable which ultimately means FTTN customers get up to 50Mbps if they’re lucky.

Some households are speed limited by a technology known as Fiber-to-the-distribution point (or FTTdp). In these streets, the fiber runs a little further, usually past the front of our house, but terminates in a junction box or distribution point, where copper is then used to get internet to your house. This also relies on existing copper and the existing cabling in your home.

The ultimate connectivity today is fiber-to-the-premesis (FTTP), something I’m lucky enough to have, but did need to build a new home in a new greenfield estate 5 years ago to secure. Homes and businesses connected to the internet by fiber sees the internet travel from the point of interconnect (POI) or exchange, right to the fiber termination box inside your home, often in the garage.

This means that with a Gigabit capable router you are able to get 1Gbps downloads and incredibly fast uploads, essentially removing the technology limitation, instead just limited by the plan your select, often based on the budget you would like to spend.

If Labor did win and invest in overbuilding or upgrading the NBN to have a 90% FTTP footprint, that would dramatically increase Australia’s connectivity as a country and undoubtedly what we should have done from the beginning. Unfortunately for those on fixed wireless, or satellite connections, there’s no discussions of upgrading this footprint, but you do now have the option of SpaceX’s Starlink to get faster internet, although that does come with increased costs.

What is missing from the announcement, which I hope is public by the time the election arrives, is the cost of this upgrade and the timeframe in which it will be completed.

Labor’s expansion will particularly benefit regional Australia, by providing up to 660,000 additional homes and businesses in our regions with access to optical fibre. 

You can read more about Labor’s NBN policy on their website here.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://techau.com.au/author/jason/
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

13 COMMENTS

  1. Gigabit NBN is pretty useless unless its affordable.

    I have 50/20 FTTN and it costs me 50% more than 100/5 USED to cost me when Telstra owned the HFC network.

    Labor need to HALF the current costs to make it affordable for Australians.

    • You’re lying.

      Telstra were charging ~$90 for 100/5 HFC.

      I plugged in a FTTN address into the Telstra site and they say their cost is $95 monthly.

      That’s not “50% more”.

      If you went with a company who aren’t coasting on incumbency and marketing, you could get the same speed at TPG for $70.

      • Lots of people got Telstra’s $90 cable plan for around $60 when they bundled or were offered discounts. It’s premature to say he’s lying.

        Personally I think the cost recovery model on a piece of essential infrastructure is stupid. $100+ per month NBN plans are ridiculous compared to most other countries.

        • If they were “bundled” or “discounted” it’s not the real price and the point stands.

          Of course I’d like cheaper prices, who wouldn’t. But that’s beside the point being made.

    • I only pay $110 a month for Gigabit FTTN with a static IP through MyRepublic, there are retailers that are way more affordable than Telstra

    • The simplest way to make NBN plans more affordable is to remove the speed tiers and return data pricing (CVC) to Labor’s $20/month. People know how to conserve electricity, water, gas, etc. and can do the same with the NBN.

      The second step would be to sell the SkyMuster satellites and subsidise satellite connections. The low latency, resilience and low latency of Starlink in particular would delivery real benefits.

      The LNP have attempted to make the NBN more affordable by reducing upload speeds making working from home, studying from home and telehealth more frustrating.

  2. I do not have the option of SpaceX despite being in a fixed wireless area.

    That being said the fixed wireless I have is quite decent over the 1Mbps ADSL line we had.

  3. It’s Labor who cocked up the original NBN by sheer incompetence. I was part of the construction company building it for the eastern seaboard.

    Libs may have done a half assed job with HFC etc but they got it done.

    Now Murdoch is out of the picture, it can be done properly, 10 years late.

  4. I’m also participating in an economic boycott of the network. I’m on a 20/20mbit 4G connection that costs me $35 and outperforms NBN 50/20 75/20 and Homefast tiers in evening upload speed.

  5. I’m also economically boycotting the my VDSL (FTTN) NBN.

    I’m on a 20/20mbit 4G sim that outperforms 50/20, 75/20 and Homefast tiers in the evening peak in upload, the only speed metric I care about. $35 per month and has a market leading international roaming plan.

    • Labor’s first NBN Corporate Plan back in 2009 acknowledged that price sensitive customers would select mobile as cheaper. For people with data requirements of less than 200GB (and rising) that is the case.

      Sadly, Labor added speed tiers to the NBN, meaning that for >85% on 50Mbs or slower speed tiers, mobile data is likely to be faster.

  6. Also, in the last 10 years internet speeds have significantly increased in the rest of the world. We need symmetric or near symmetric speeds availible in the 10-25 Gbps range on demand. The network has been bought, and the idea it needs to be paid back by users is flawed. Allow the network to run at its true capacity.

    If you want to charge more for high speeds, then charge for real high speed, not this 20 year old technology.

    And then we really should be trying our best to service everyone that ever had a copper phone line with a fibre extension, and providing subsidised skylink for the rest.

  7. I would actually be very satisfied for several years if my FTTN connection had the following modest improvements:
    * Remove co-existence mode which has been ON for years now, artificially reducing maximum attainable speed.
    * Deploy Profile 35b (currently 17a is deployed)
    * Provision a 200/50 or 200/100 FTTN plan that I can upgrade to from my current 100/40.

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