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.