Archive for February, 2011

Finally, I have something to report….

February 23rd, 2011

It has been an age since I last posted. This is due to a number of reasons, but this is mainly due to a delays in the release of information about the Gungahlin NBN roll out.

Since November a number of things have occurred that have caused NBN to change the way in which the core network will be deployed across the country. This has meant some rework on the NBN part to adjust to the changes. This has meant the NBN has not been able to release information to us with any certainty until the changes have been dealt with, hence the delay.  I will try to explain these changes as efficiently as I can.

The NBN Co had planned to deploy the NBN across the country using approximately 14 Points of Interconnect (POI). The ACCC made a recommendation that the NBN increase the Points of Interconnect from 14 to 120. This is actually a significant change to the way both the NBN and service providers will service customers. A POI is equivalent to an Telstra phone exchange in that it is the point where all services for a geographic area are consolidated. Under the NBN model, any service provider would be required to place infrastructure in a POI to service users. This would be similar to the the way ISPs place ADSL DSLAMs in exchanges to service connected customers. With 14 POIs, service providers would only need 14 sets of infrastructure to service all Australians. With the ACCC recommendation, service providers will need to deploy 120 sets of infrastructure.

This will obviously be an advantage to incumbent telecommunications providers and a greater burden to smaller or new players. The more POIs deployed the more complex the interconnect between POIs and the more sites service providers will need to run infrastructure in. The ACCC believe that increasing the number of POIs/exchanges the greater level of competition. As many of the POIs will be in Telstra exchanges, the jury is still out if this will be the case.

What I can tell you is both Civic and Queanbeyan exchanges have been identified as the POI sites for the NBN in the ACT. Queanbeyan will support 10 Fibre Support Areas (FSA) and Civic will support 11 Fibre Support Areas. Gungahlin mini exchange will be the likely site for the first Fibre Support Area which will hold the Fibre Access Node (FAN). All of Gungahlin will be served from one Fibre Support Area deployment.

The FAN in the FSA will connect to all the locally deployed Fibre Distribution Area (FDA) nodes. Each FDA provides connectivity to 3000 houses. The roll out will be consist of adding new Fibre Distribution Areas of 3000 houses to the central FSA. I hope that  makes sense, well I think it does…

What I have also found out is that the wheels are turning on the commercial side of the deployment. The NBN has assured the ACT Broadband Taskforce (a group of territory government representatives from Mr Stanhopes’ office and other departments) that the Gungahlin release WILL go ahead. To date the NBN has met with the ACT government on two occasions. The NBNCo is still in the tender review process that will award the infrastructure and cabling work for the Gungahlin roll out. This could be awarded as early as mid march and will allow the start of the real work in our community. Once the tender is awarded the contractor will be required to provide a detailed design to the NBN for approval. Once cleared the digging will commence.

Do not doubt there will be some digging. The NBN will look to use every Telstra duct they have permission to access but I am sure numerous streets will have new trenches run through them.

On a side note the shadow minister for communications Mr Malcolm Turnbull addressed concerned Gungahlin residents in February. I decided to go and listen to what he had to say. The meeting was held to an audience of 40 people at 12:00pm on a Monday, about a third of the people who attended the GCC meeting to hear the NBN speak.

Malcolm had been briefed on who I was. He was expecting me to be there and when I stood up and introduced myself made some comments along the lines of  “the illustrious Mr Gillon.”

First I want to say thanks to Mr Turnbull for turning up and facing the community. Anyone who is prepared to come here and engage is welcome, regardless of their opinion. Peter Elford from the GCC and a few others where there to ask the tougher questions. Unfortunately a large segment of the audience were senior citizens who were scared the NBN would cost them so much extra to use that their pensions would be affected.

Mr Turnbull was pushing the wireless wheelbarrow, he spoke of being able to provide a service much cheaper than $43 Billion dollars. Unfortunately he missed two major issues, one is that he still does not know how to do this. I had hoped to hear more on “How” the Liberals could help our issues. One can only assume Mr Turnbull has not worked out a policy yet, with out the “How” there is very little to digest.

The second point missed is the dissatisfaction with the Telstra Monopoly which is the cause of much of the under service experienced in Gungahlin. If the RIMs/CMUXs did not exist, other providers could have competed on equal footing. This would have provided the environment with competition and better service to clients. Mr Turnbull seems to want to move away from these discussions. When I put the merits of an equal access environment to him in a question, I felt he maneuvered away from answering directly. In my opinion this was a missed opportunity.

Anyway, if you made it this far congratulations. You now know as much as I do about the NBN roll out. I promise I will get more posts out as things start to come through.

Edit – I forgot to mention, NBN have made assurances to the GCC that the roll out will continue until all of Gungahlin is connected.