[LINK] NBN white-elephant-to-be ..

Paul Brooks pbrooks-link at layer10.com.au
Wed Aug 25 13:13:36 AEST 2010

  On 25/08/2010 7:21 AM, Richard Chirgwin wrote:
> Even people who are well-informed on other matters get important details
> wrong, as in the article below. This, combined with intractable
> partisanship, has completely polluted the NBN debate.
Agreed 100%. This article, like so many others, has personal opinion mixed up with and 
asserted as facts, and most readers aren't in a position to examine and extract the 
valid points from within the emotive and invalid points.

>> The price we've been quoted is $43 billion, but that's only for the
>> initial build.
>> Factor in the year-on-year running costs and the NBN rests somewhere
>> between a losing investment and a financial black hole, guaranteed never
>> to break even, let alone to turn a profit.
The year-on-year running and maintenance costs of a fibre access network should be 
significantly lower than the costs to run and maintain the copper network  - but this 
is somehow never mentioned. I used to know how much Telstra spends on replacing air 
gas bottles used to pressurise main cable jackets to try to keep water out, many of 
which leak like a sieve - not to mention the labour cost of guys running around every 
day with truckloads of gas cylinders - none of which are needed for optical fibre cables.

Similarly the power required to drive a signal down fibre is milliwatts, compared to 
1.2W or so required to deliver a DSL line.
Nobody seems to be factoring the lower annual running costs into the TCO comparison - 
which was one of the main reasons Telstra gave for wanting to deploy the FTTN network 
in the first place.

>> Any way you look at it, the costs are simply too high.
>> Although the fibre might be a 50-year asset, the bulk of the cost will be
>> in replacing its networking equipment as it ages: a capital investment
>> close to $43bn every 10 to 15 years.
Rubbish - the bulk of the capital costs are the civil construction required to install 
the optical fibre cable. The network equipment lighting up the fibre is peanuts in 
comparison, and is usually replaced to achieve a performance or capacity increase of 
several hundred percent, reducing the overall per-unit cost of the network even further.

Didn't bother reading further after finding that paragraph.

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