[LINK] Does the NBN bring redundancy?

Paul Brooks pbrooks at layer10.com.au
Wed Oct 5 19:04:11 AEDT 2011

On 5/10/2011 1:31 PM, Fernando Cassia wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 21:21, Paul Brooks <pbrooks-link at layer10.com.au> wrote:
>> Hope this helps.
>> Paul.
> Thanks Paul!
> This gave me a nice idea of what the NBN does and what it does not.
> However the paragraph "For long-haul fibre backbones (which is what I
> see in my mental picture when I see the word 'backbone') the NBN is
> not playing in that space" gave me doubts. Does that for city-to-city
> links the NBN won't be a competitive player with existing fibres?.
> When I wrote the question, I was thinking of the city-to-city WAN. In
> other words if a -for example- Sydney-Brisbane fibre already exists
> (say, from Telstra) if the NBN will rent space -dark fibre- on that or
> build a second, NBN-owned city-to-city fibre link nevertheless and in
> parallel, to bring competition to the private operator and hopefully
> prices down.
> I'm asking not only out of curiosity but also due to self-interest...
> the local government down here is also engaged in a NBN, but playing
> the long-haul backbone game, and they recently announced that they won
> be building redundant links in parallel with existing infrastructure,
> they will just use current fibre links whenever possible, and build
> new infrastructure where there is none, which I think is a big
> "surrender" flag to the incumbents, could be interpreted as a hand out
> to the incumbent players (even if it's a peering agreement with no
> money exchanged) and finally it also kills any hope of bringing down
> rates, not to mention continuing with the current
> single-point-of-failure network where often a whole State is connected
> by a single fibre link owned by the private incumbent.
> Thanks for your reply.
Thanks Fernando- and Richard for the update.

Fernando - are you saying that your government won't overbuild even a monopoly route
with only a single provider on it?

The rough rule in Australia is that the NBNCo will not build long-haul fibre on a
route if there are *two or more* independent other parties with fibre on that route.
If there is commercial competition, NBNCo won't build. If there is only one commercial
infrastructure owner, then NBN Co will build its own infrastructure in parallel.

Note that on a competitive route with two or more infrastructure owners, NBNCo doesn't
rent dark fibre or lit transmission services from one of them either (except possibly
for internal management). It is left to the service providers to use competitive
forces to purchase transmission from their provider-of-choice to get from capital
cities out to where the long-haul competition stops - that essentially is the criteria
where NBNCo decides to site its PoIs - and connect to the NBN there to carry the
traffic onwards  to the customer premises.

The NBN is not actually National - it is essentially 121 disjoint fingers of access
networks, relying on the commercial long-haul fibre backbones to enable service
providers to pull the jigsaw pieces together from multiple suppliers to create a
piecewise network path.

NBN in Australia simply cannot provide a Sydney-Brisbane end-to-end path that you
describe - it will not have anything in the middle. This is deliberate, to ensure it
cannot directly provide a retail service using just its own resources.

Fernando, see http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/952292, particularly
the lower half of the page with the 'POI Planning Rules' and the discussion paper and
advice to government, for a deeper understanding of how the location of NBN PoIs is
determined from the decision to overbuild monopoly routes, but not overbuild
competitive routes - at least as far as our Competition regulator sees things.


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