NBN predictions update

Just before the election I made my NBN predictions. Less than two weeks after the election there is some speculation that my 5% chance option 1 – continue with FTTP – may happen. Although I didn’t include the use of fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) as an option for apartments and other MDUs such as shopping centres in this option, the Coalition plan was always to include FTTP in areas where the NBN was already committed, ‘greenfields’ sites and other locations where the copper needed too much remediation. So I will fudge it a bit and say that it was implied ;)

Just before the election I did head Malcolm Turnbull say on 702 Sydney words to the effect that ‘no one doubts the technological superiority of FTTP, but it shouldn’t be done at any price’. This struck me as quite a departure from his prior position which was ‘FTTP isn’t needed’; he was emphasising cost and not FTTN being a suitable technology.

For what its worth I think that FTTB is a reasonable approach to MDUs – the copper runs are likely to be relatively short and relatively new. An on-demand extension of FTTH from a basement is more likely to be both feasible and cost-effective than a couple of hundred meters down the road from a node to a house.

As others have observed a truly independent review would be hard-pressed to find that FTTN makes sense as a long-term solution for the delivery of a data network and given that the bulk of the cost will be labour any savings will be illusory in the long-term.

My NBN Predictions

It seems almost certain that in about 15 days we will have a new coalition government. Broadly speaking their NBN policy is a switch from FTTH to FTTN. Much has been written about why FTTN is inferior to FTTH and why, given the state of the copper and the likely lifetime of an FTTN solution, any savings are probably illusory so I won’t repeat it all again.

What I do want to do with this post is try and predict what the LNP will actually do with the NBN. I am not brave enough to make a single prediction, so I will give some options and my opinion on how likely they are.

Option 1 – They conduct a review of the NBN and decide that FTTH is the right way to go after all – 5%

Option 2 – They spend 6-8 months negotiating with Telstra for access to the copper at a reasonable price before giving up and deciding to stick with the current FTTH plans – 10%

Option 3 – They spend 6-8 months negotiating with Telstra for access to the copper at a reasonable price before giving up and selling NBNCo to Telstra in exchange for some agreement on ‘structural separation’ between wholesale and retail – 50%

Option 4 – They spend 6-8 months negotiating with Telstra for access to the copper at a reasonable price before giving up and giving NBNCo to Telstra and paying them $20B in subsidies to complete the rollout in exchange for some agreement on ‘structural separation’ between wholesale and retail – 20%

Option 5 – They spend 6-8 months negotiating with Telstra for access to the copper, end up paying them $10B and rollout an FTTN network that is obsolete before it is completed, takes longer to deploy than the original FTTN NBN and costs more – 30%

Although options 1 & 2 involve a complete about-face on their FTTN policy, it is conceivable as they will very likely be in a strong position, electorally, and able to blame it on Labor (“they committed us to FTTN and it is unfair to have some people with lower speed access”) or Telstra.

Under options 3 and 4 (especially 4) I think there is a reasonable chance that Telstra will continue to roll out FTTH – they have already done this in new estates and in South Brisbane, and it gives them a chance to be rid of the majority of their copper network. This will reduce the cost of maintenance and give them an excuse to retrench a lot of maintenance employees & replace them with subcontractors (those that haven’t already been replaced with subcontractors that is). A homogeneous FTTH network would also be cheaper to manage than a mixture of FTTH, FTTN and HFC.

It will be interesting to come back in August 2014 and see how my predictions have panned out.


*Update* – Scott’s comment reminded me that I meant to point out that under both the Labor and Lib’s plan rural areas get fixed-wireless or satellite. This means that there may not be much horse-trading required with the Nationals. It also means that I guess the one issue that I might care about in this election doesn’t affect me either. hmm…

And we’re back…

I have built a new OS image for the weather station Raspberry Pi and reinstalled WView, so the weather pages are back up.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to recover the new HTML template I made, so it is back to the standard page for the moment, until I can recreate it.

*NOTE TO SELF* – Back up the flash card this time!

Service Information

Last week I migrated to a different server at my hosting provider in order to get access to some additional features.  Unfortunately this had a serious impact on the performance of this site.

After talking to GoDaddy support last night they were able to migrate me again, but this time to a newer hosting farm and now performance is better than ever.

Unfortunately the Raspberry Pi flash got corrupted, so the weather station is down until I can rebuild that.  I managed to recover most of the data, but unfortunately lost my new web page template, so I will need to recreate that :(

How about this weather?

I have installed a weather station so that we can see exactly how cold it is (also to keep track of the all-important rainfall which fills our tank).

Of course I had to connect it to the Internet.  This means I can share this very interesting information with all of you.  You can get access to the weather station data either here or over at Weather Underground.  The Weather Underground feed is also displayed as a widget on the right side of the main page.

Kitchen and floor

The kitchens were installed last weekend.

The photo below shows the kitchen in the main house (it is white under the blue protective plastic). You can also see the floor, which looks great. It will be even better once it has been cleaned.


Adventures in Infrared – part 2

Continuing from part 1, I have replaced the IR detector in the matrix receiver and now the receiver can detect the 56KHz Austar remote.  Unfortunately the transmitter is still sending out a 38KHz signal and the Austar box doesn’t respond to it.

At this point I can see two options:

  1. Build a circuit to convert the 38KHz carrier into a 56KHz carrier
  2. Replace the IR detector in the Austar box

Option 1 isn’t too hard, but it does need a bit of wiring and extra components.

Option 2 would give me the cleanest solution, but involves hacking a box that technically isn’t mine.

I am still considering my options…

House Update

Today we had some nice weather and I had an opportunity to get down to the house with the camera and take a few new shots.

Ceilings have been painted and the undercoat is on.  The next week will see the painting continue and then we should see the floor installed.  The kitchen people are lined up to install on the 6th of March, so getting close to move-in.

Family Room

Picture 1 of 9

Family room from the kitchen end