[LINK] NBN and Batteries

Marghanita da Cruz marghanita at ramin.com.au
Wed Feb 23 14:40:53 AEDT 2011

Richard Chirgwin wrote:
> Personally, I think the Greens would do better to tackle battery 
> disposal / recycling across-the-board, rather than grabbing  passing 
> high-profile issue (the NBN) and tacking "battery disposal" on the end. 
> "Pin the tail on the donkey" is a second-rate political strategy; cheap 
> opportunism, IMO.


> Senate Question No.315
> Senator Ludlam asked the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, in writing, on 6 December 2010:
> With reference to the Government's National Waste Policy and the proposed Product Stewardship legislation under which national recycling policies for products such as electronic waste can be regulated - a scheme which was to start in 2011:
> (1) What is the timetable for the Product Stewardship legislation.
> (2) What is the timetable for e waste recycling.
> (3) What expenditure has been earmarked for the e waste scheme.
> (4) What budget allocations have been made to implement e waste collections.
> (5) To date, what progress has been made towards implementing the scheme.
> (6) Will the e waste scheme start in time to help recover disposed televisions, resulting from the current digital switchover.
> Senator Conroy: The Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has provided the following answer to the honourable Senator's question:
> (1) The Product Stewardship bill is expected to be...

> Did some quick Googling on this; a common figure for landfill is 8,000 
> *tonnes* of batteries each year - and that datum is 8 years old (from 
> the ABS). It's probably more now.
> Let's get the calculating envelope:
> NBN - (say) 8 million households*
> Backup take-up rate - 20% (a guess for the thought experiment)
> Battery "failure rate" - 20% annually (ie, five years to turn over all 
> batteries)
> Battery weight - 1 Kg (again, a guess for the thought experiment)
> *I realise there's an expectation for ultimately 11 million households 
> to be covered. That depends on the rate of population growth, so I'm 
> thumbnailing this on today's approximate number of households.
> That yields 320 tonnes annually - an extra 4% load on battery disposal 
> the last time it was measured.
> If we regularise *all* battery disposal, the NBN batteries would not 
> need some separate special treatment.
> RC
> On 23/02/11 2:15 PM, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
>> Paul writes,
>>> here we are more likely to get an enquiry afterwards to declare
>>> after-the-fact that the orders to 'down the Internet' were a violation
>>> of something.
>> Sensible comments Paul, both here and also in "Computerworld" this arvo:
>> --
>> Green concerns raise ire for NBN battery backup
>> Potential environmental impact of recycling millions of batteries a
>> concern as NBN installs default backups for fibre homes
>> by James Hutchinson (Computerworld) 23rd February, 2011 12:49
>> The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is
>> preparing to consult with internet service providers on the potential
>> impact of recycling backup batteries for equipment installed as part of
>> the National Broadband Network (NBN).
>> The batteries are currently being installed by NBN Co contractors free of
>> charge on all premises connected by fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology.
>> The batteries are expected to provide power to the network termination
>> unit at homes and business for a minimum of three hours in the event of a
>> power failure, allowing users to make emergency calls.
>> The batteries themselves are likely to last up to five years and NBN Co
>> and service providers will both be able to monitor the lifespan of the
>> backup equipment, with an alarm set to warn both operators when the
>> battery requires replacement.
>> According to NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, the service provider
>> will be responsible for maintenance and replacement of the battery after
>> it is installed.
>> However, in a Senate estimates hearing this week, Greens senator Scott
>> Ludlam questioned the potential environmental impact the millions of
>> batteries could have when they do require replacement and ultimately
>> recycling.
>> Marianne Cullen, first assistant secretary of NBN implementation at the
>> department, told senators the department would relieve any responsibility
>> from NBN Co, and was looking to address the environmental and emergency
>> service issues with industry.
>> "We're currently in the process of designing an appropriate stakeholder
>> consultation process in the department and expect that to happen in the
>> next couple of months," she said.
>> An investigation into the battery issue last year by Communications
>> Alliance's NBN working group led to suggestions the backup be provided as
>> an optional install for those users who require a voice service.
>> Layer 10 consultant and former lead of the working group, Paul Brooks,
>> told Computerworld Australia the use of an optional battery installation
>> could potentially alleviate the environmental impact by reducing the
>> number of batteries installed in the first place.
>> "Anybody who actually needed the battery backup could have it, but the
>> people who didn't need the battery backup because they're using phone
>> handsets or mobiles or other means of communicating shouldn't be required
>> to have the battery to reduce the huge environmental impact of having
>> tens of millions of batteries replaced every few years," he said.
>> The batteries are primarily designed to back up the voice service on NBN
>> equipment, but one of the remaining unclear questions is whether the
>> battery would also provide power to data ports.
>> The lack of a backup option for data could provide hazardous as RSPs may
>> offer VoIP services over the existing data connection, rather than using
>> the emulated telephone port on customer equipment.
>> Spokespeople for NBN Co and equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent did not
>> respond to requests for comment at time of writing.
>> According to technical specifications released by the network wholesaler
>> last year, satellite-connected homes will not receive the battery backup
>> device by default, as the approximately three per cent of Australian
>> premises will only be offered a voice service through existing universal
>> service obligation arrangements, or through a VoIP service provided over
>> the data connection.
>> NBN Co is yet to confirm whether fixed wireless premises will receive the
>> unit.
>> However, both Quigley and Brooks warned that, even with battery backup
>> for the voice ports on customer equipment, the prevalent use of cordless
>> phones and handsets requiring power meant that the battery would be
>> useless in emergency situations.
>> "When people are using a cordless phone, it doesn't work when the power
>> goes out," Quigley said.
>> Quigley also revealed at Senates estimates that NBN Co continued to
>> investigate a "reserve button" for the battery backup unit.
>> In a statement to ZDNet last month, a spokesperson for the wholesaler
>> indicated the button, which could only be pressed by an authorised
>> technician, could be used to deliver a further 25 per cent of the
>> battery's power reserve after five hours of use without main line power.
>> Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, called the reserve power
>> button a "break glass in case of emergency" option.
>> http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/377652/green_concerns_raise_ire_nb
>> n_battery_backup/   Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch
>> Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU
>> --
>> Cheers,
>> Stephen
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Marghanita da Cruz
Tel: 0414-869202

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