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

Paul Brooks pbrooks-link at layer10.com.au
Wed Aug 25 13:51:52 AEST 2010

  On 25/08/2010 12:48 PM, Marghanita da Cruz wrote:
> FWIW - Energy Australia is replacing its copper with
> Aluminium (for their electricity grid).

Not sure what you point here is Marghanita - they could hardly replace copper cables 
with fibre - their purpose after all is to conduct electricity.

They are doing this for aluminium's low cost and low weight, not for any electrical 

Aluminium conductivity is only about 62% that of copper by size, but it is lighter, 
more flexible, and a lot cheaper.

Currently Copper is $7197 compared to Aluminium $2032 per tonne. Even when the cables 
are made fatter to give the same electrical resistance as an equivalent copper cable, 
an aluminimum cable is significantly lighter and cheaper.

Nothing to do with broadband though.

> Deploying a tower every few hundred metres isn't as
> difficult as deploying capiliaries of fibre terminated with
> something to convert from optical transmission to
> electricity, for either wireless or ethernet LAN (basic
> common sense).

Lets make it a proper comparison - and include deploying the same capiliaries of fibre 
to the towers and up them, still terminating them, and then include the radio 
transmitters, radio receivers, dishes, panel antennas, technicians to climb the towers 
and align the antennas...

Towers by themselves aren't very useful except as an objet d'art - and in this, they 
still aren't very useful.
By the time you have run fibre to every tower located every few hundred metres, you 
might as well have run it directly to the surrounding houses, its a helluva lot 
cheaper to maintain.

> In any event, the NBN in high density urban areas is a
> non-issue - the market meets demand.
Tell that to the people in those high density urban areas that still to this day that 
can't get any form of broadband, and please show me the market participants that are 
offering an even roughly symmetric connection with 4 Mbps upstream or greater, across 
those urban areas.
Markets don't meet demand unless there is a significant level of competition and ease 
of movement - and sometimes, not even then. Until then, markets meet only what the 
market will bear.


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