Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare has told attendees at the CommsDay Melbourne congress that the national broadband network’s (NBN) fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology “will be gone”, with it being a question of when not if it will happen.The Coalition government has backed in FTTN technology as part of its multi-technology mix NBN rollout, with the NBN’s commercial FTTN product launched last month.
Upon its launch, NBN stated it expected a simpler installation process compared to other technologies such as fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) will see it able to activate end users “much faster than on other broadband technologies”.
However, Clare has questioned why there is even a debate between the use of copper and fibre, stating “fibre is the end game”.
“Decades from now, I am sure we will look back and wonder what this debate about fibre and copper was all about,” he told CommsDay attendees.
“And that’s because the network we will be using will be essentially a fibre network. Fibre-to-the-node will be gone. It’s not a question of if this will happen. It’s when it will happen and how it will be done.”
While Labor had envisaged 93 per cent of Australian premises being connected via FTTP under the NBN rollout, the current version has 20 per cent of premises connected via FTTP, with 38 per cent connected via FTTN or fibre-to-the-basement, and 34 per cent via hybrid-fibre coaxial.
There has been speculation since Malcolm Turnbull took over as prime minister that the Coalition would consider a greater FTTP rollout.
Following the change of leadership, Ovum government technology principal analyst Al Blake noted that with Turnbull as prime minister it “may allow for an NBN recalibration”.
“Given the political realities it would be impossible to go back to the original Labor plan – but we may see the proportion technologies slide further towards FTTP, which would mean world-call broadband performance for a greater percentage of Australians,” Blake commented.