Complaints about frequent dropouts and slow download speeds from the National Broadband Network (NBN)

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Lately, there have been complaints about frequent dropout and slow download speeds from the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The Conversation

A report by the OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently flags broadband speeds in Australia among the worst in terms of penetration and internet speed.

This raises some questions the continued use of FTTN, fibre to the node connections over a large proportionality of the network footprint.

The coalition government in 2013 instructed a new broadband network management team build a multi-technology-mix (MTM) NBN version instead of rolling out fibre to the premises (FTTP). However, predictions that FTTN networks are inadequate for the country’s future needs are coming out clear.

Who is to blame?

Bill Morrow, the NBN chief executive, blames retailers instead of NBN, saying that their networks are inefficient. He also added that most customers are going for cheap, slow services, which is a problem in providing fast connections.

When defending their network, NBN says that existing slow-speed ADSL services have dominated the speed data in the OECD report. Its suggestion is that rolling out NBN connections across the country will improve Australia’s Internet speed and broadband ranking. However, current developments in most OECD countries use FTTP networks that offer higher speeds compared to FTTN.

Faster speeds overseas

The use of FTTP in broadband services worldwide has increased by 77%, while the use of FTTN has decreased by an estimated 11.6% in the past one year.

OECD countries and the rest of the world are implementing FTTP in their networks. On to the contrary, Australia is still moving backwards with the continued deployment of FTTN. Countries such as New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, France, the United States, Finland and the South East Asia have highly implemented fibre connections in their networks using new cabling technologies to ensure high-speed networks.

FTTC- Fibre to the Curb

Last September, NBN announced that they would roll out FTTC networks to at least 700,000 premises.

This is a new technology through which fibre connections link the local telephone exchange system to small existing pits in an office, home or at the streets. It has a potential speed of over 500 Megabits per second. The key difference between FTTC and FTTP is that the fibre is connected to existing copper cables using a small waterproof electronic box found in the pit.

Implementing both FTTC and FTTP will see Australia improve their broadband speeds that will serve the growing digital economy. Peter Ryan, the chief network engineering officer, at NBN, also says that it is easy to upgrade FTTN to FTTC as they are closely related

Taking stock

Ryan points out that it is getting harder to forego all FTTN contracts and implement better strategies as it will delay connections for about two to three years. He says it is difficult to bring ongoing projects to a stop and completely switch the direction.

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