NBN – FttH – Broadband

In Australia the national broadband network attracts a great deal of attention. Many of the insights shared here are picked up by the media. This section also covers all types of broadband infrastructure: Fibre to the Premise (FttP), Fibre to the Home (FttH), Fibre to the Node (FttN), Fibre to the Curb (FttC), Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC), the various DSL services, and wireless.

Government want NBN Co to focus on the money.

Rather conveniently, NBN Co has removed all forward financial projections beyond the next 12 months in its Corporate Plan for 2022, released last week. As I also mentioned when the Government released its financial results a few weeks ago, understanding how the company is really performing remains rather murky. The new corporate plan only adds …

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Global developments in broadband

High-speed fibre overtakes DSL as OECD countries add 21 million fixed broadband connections in pandemic year High-speed fibre Internet subscriptions surpassed copper-wire DSL connections across OECD countries for the first time in 2020 as the need to move work and home life activities online during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a record 21.15 million new …

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NBN hits a financial target that has been revised downwards several times

In August, NBN Co announced its financial results for the financial year ending 30 June 2021. It showed that it had activated 8.2 million customers. Interestingly they mentioned that this was on target — returning $4.6 billion of revenues and an improved net loss of $3.8 billion. But as I have also mentioned in previous …

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Back to the future with FttH and finally mobile roaming is on the cards.

In a surprise move, the Commonwealth Bank took a 25% stake in two of the NBN Retail Service Providers (RSPs): More Telecom and Tangerine. As electronic banking is growing exponentially, the bank wants to become more involved in the telecoms market which is key in providing access to such services. As Australia has one of …

Back to the future with FttH and finally mobile roaming is on the cards. Read More »

The ACCC is worried we will use the NBN too much.

Recently, IT was reported that a new Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Commissioner, Anna Brakey, said: We have got an opportunity to have a look at the regulatory framework and to make sure, that we efficiently use the NBN. If we set prices too low, there would be overuse of the NBN. And as …

The ACCC is worried we will use the NBN too much. Read More »

NBN faces new problems but executives paid bonusses

There is never a dull moment in the NBN saga, with the following happening over the last few weeks: NBN executives paid themselves $77 million in bonuses; construction staff went on strike as they missed out on proper payments and are also frustrated with the inefficiencies of the rollout activities; NBN Co announced it will …

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Enough is enough ACCC will become involved in the NBN monopoly.

NBN Co has released its plans for the 2021 pricing review consultation process. It is seeking retail service provider (RSP) and broader industry feedback on current and future matters of NBN wholesale pricing. However, in its outline of what will be reviewed, it became clear that the key issues are not on the discussion list. …

Enough is enough ACCC will become involved in the NBN monopoly. Read More »

$100 billion national broadband plan for America.

The new Biden Administration in the USA laid out a $100 billion proposal for broadband investment as part of its $2 trillion+  infrastructure plan. Under the proposal, the plan is to provide national broadband coverage. The Administration will use better competition measures, such a price transparency, the use of public utility infrastructure and subsidies for …

$100 billion national broadband plan for America. Read More »

Broadband users are going to pay for failed NBN policies.

For more than a decade – dating back to the original NBN plan from the Labor Government – the retail service providers (RSPs) have argued against the unpredictable variable elements in its wholesale charges (the so-called connectivity virtual charges or CVCs). We have covered this at length in previous articles going back at least to …

Broadband users are going to pay for failed NBN policies. Read More »

Are the LEOs going to disrupt the telco market?

We are getting closer to using alternative broadband solutions, offered by international companies. Local telecommunication entities will in this respect be relegated to resellers. The reality of accessing low Earth orbiting satellite (LEO) services is now clearly on the horizon. Most of the telcos as well as governments are not prepared for the potential shock …

Are the LEOs going to disrupt the telco market? Read More »

Australian fixed broadband in the international context.

During the past two decade, there have been considerable efforts undertaken by governments and national telecom regulators to ensure that their countries’ economic growth is underpinned by capable broadband infrastructure. The success of national policies has been variable, but the scale of investment and the way the development of fibre infrastructure has been encouraged has …

Australian fixed broadband in the international context. Read More »

NBN wants us to pay more for their broadband service.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen several new announcements from NBN Co. The key announcements include: A payment of $3 billion to the Government as a repayment of their $19.5 billion investment; An extra 100,000 fibre-to-the-node (FttN) premises will be upgraded to fibre-to-the-premise (FttP) infrastructure; and A complex review of their already complex …

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What will 2021 have install for the ICT industry?

While 2021 will remain a year with lots of uncertainties, at the same we can say that the pandemic has not affected the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in any significant way. Yes, there has been a slowdown, for example, in the sale of smartphones. Shortages in both materials and expertise are slowing the …

What will 2021 have install for the ICT industry? Read More »

Government backed NBN monopoly is flexing its muscles

Over the last year, we have discussed the unsustainably high wholesale charges that NBN Co is raking in. They need this just to recoup the blowout of the investments in their second-rate multi-technology mix (MtM) infrastructure. The Government, following its election win in 2013, handpicked a new NBN team. They were favourable to their policies, …

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NBN battle between the ACCC and the Government

It came as a surprise to many in the telecoms industry as well as in the legal profession that the Government issued a Statement of Expectation (SoE) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In my opinion, what this means is that the Government would like the ACCC to facilitate NBN Co to increase …

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Agriculture ICT and travelling in Outback Queensland

In October 2020, I went on a two-week tour into Queensland’s Outback, travelling through various landscapes from pastoral and agricultural lands to savanna and the desert. Leaving Brisbane, past Toowoomba you enter the Darling Downs. This is one of the richest agricultural areas in Australia. It was first explored by British Botanist Alan Cunningham in …

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The government dug its own NBN hole, how to get out of it?

As with any large-scale project, you need a long-term vision on the investment that you are going to make. Once that vision is agreed upon, solid strategies need to be developed. Next is a careful design to ensure that what you have designed will work in practice. Only then are you going to start with …

The government dug its own NBN hole, how to get out of it? Read More »

Are we building a mediocre NBN for the ‘average user’?

Are we building a mediocre NBN for the average user? Interesting new research conducted by the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research predicts that average Australian data consumption is set to quadruple by 2028, based on figures from 2018. But they also predict that peak bandwidth will grow less rapidly. In their words: ‘Bandwidth requirements …

Are we building a mediocre NBN for the ‘average user’? Read More »

Hassle over LEOs

The following article is based on a blog written by my Dutch colleague Fred Kappetijn. We have worked together to present this to you. Every second, 4.5 billion people using computers and other electronic devices send 100,000 gigabytes of information to each other. Around 60% of the world’s population has an internet connection. North America …

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Digital economy essential for regional Australia

Back in the early 1990s, I was a founding board member of Service Providers Action Network (SPAN), which later became part of Communications Alliance. The key aim of this organisation was the promotion of new value-added services that could be provided over the telecommunications network. At this time there was no public internet and we …

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Building independent Gig Cities: this happens when you have a 2nd rate NBN

Adelaide was one of the first cities to build a gigabit fibre optic network but soon others followed. Newcastle, Wollongong, Launceston and the NSW Central Coast Council are now all developing their own gigabit infrastructure. Now, the NSW Government is putting $100 million dollars aside for the provision of “innovative systems” to improve the price, …

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Encouraging online lessons from the corona crisis

The players in the telecommunications industry have decisively reacted to the COVID-19 crisis. The NBN is holding up and the company is effectively implementing a range of measures for those who rely on it. Equally, the support from the major telcos and the digital players has been first-class and, where needed, the industry is working …

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Will the NBN stand up in the Covid-19 pandemic?

In a previous blog I addressed the issue of teleworking and e-health application in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also mentioned the impact that this will have on our telecommunications networks. This time I would like to go a little bit deeper into this. It is a no-brainer to predict that when schools …

Will the NBN stand up in the Covid-19 pandemic? Read More »

NBN Co is giving in to pressure to stop competing with its own retail customers.

The original plans for the NBN were to build a high-speed residential broadband network that would be made available to the other telcos on a wholesale basis.  Corporate infrastructure was basically left out of the plan as these organisations were in general well serviced by competing networks. But wait there was a loophole. What exactly …

NBN Co is giving in to pressure to stop competing with its own retail customers. Read More »

NBN troubles continues

I had an interesting discussion on the NBN with several long-term colleagues. What triggered this discussion – we have had many more of them in the past – was the latest results from the Ookla fixed broadband speed rankings. The downward trend that we have seen now for the last decade continues. Australia is now …

NBN troubles continues Read More »

The role of FttH in the development of 5G

As the rollout of fibre to the home project (FttH) remains a slow process it is no wonder that more and more people are looking towards mobile as a potential alternative. Obviously, mobile communication has improved over recent years in providing excellent access to broadband. It has also become more affordable. At the same time, …

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Broadband driven Smart Energy Developments

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of an energy revolution. Not only is the nature of energy changing from fossil-generated energy to renewable – there is a total change in the distribution structure occurring with less focus on centralisation and more on distributed energy. Concerns about issues such as energy security, …

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Full fibre NBN back on the agenda

Britain’s Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised a national fibre-to-home network for nine million homes in the UK to be completed by 2030 at a cost of £20 billion (AU$38 billion). In the same week, Australia’s Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese made a similar promise regarding updating the current multi-mix technology national broadband network …

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Australia’s NBN makes slow progress

While fixed-line telephony traffic and revenue are declining, the mobile broadband market is growing steadily. Fixed-line broadband on the copper network is also declining as fibre and fixed-wireless broadband services become more widely available, through the NBN’s multi-technology architecture, with its emphasis on VDSL with Fibre-to-the Node (FttN). In time, much of the voice traffic …

Australia’s NBN makes slow progress Read More »

Fibre to the farm provides opportunities for rural Australia

Over the last decade, Australia has spent $5.5 billion on satellite and fixed wireless broadband services and another $650 million on mobile blackspots. After last year’s Regional Telecommunications Review, the Government earlier this year indicated another $220 million for mobile blackspots, money for digital inclusions projects and $60 million for a regional connectivity program. It …

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Changing the goalposts and voila here is the new NBN corporate plan

Since the Coalition Government has taken over the NBN back in 2013, we have seen the goalposts being changed nearly on an annual basis. It started soon after Malcolm Turnbull’s infamous announcement: “we will bring you the NBN for around $25 billion and deliver it in 2016”. The reality, of course, is that now in …

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Do we need 5G to compete with the NBN

For as long the NBN has been under development we have heard comments that the NBN is not needed as the world will go wireless. In the early days, this was an argument from, among others, Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. However, while he didn’t often repeat this argument of fear, uncertainty and doubt, the …

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NBN Co’s gain is the retailer’s loss

However, as we have heard now for over a year, this has been at the costs of the margins of the retail service providers. NBN Co’s high wholesale prices have squeezed margins for some of them to close to 10%. Companies such as Telstra were used to margins of 30-40%. Without any wholesale infrastructure competition, …

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Minister Fletcher’s first in-depth comments on the NBN.

Recently the Minister made his first more in-depth public comments on various aspects of the NBN. The fact that the telecommunications industry had a sigh of relief when the new comms minister Paul Fletcher mentioned that the government would not sell the NBN to Telstra is an indication how low trust in politics has sunk …

Minister Fletcher’s first in-depth comments on the NBN. Read More »

Not Netflix but Government killed the NBN

In a recent ABC interview, Sam Dimarco, Head of Stakeholder Relations at NBN Co, asserted that Netflix has been a catalyst for change. It has been blamed as the principal reason why the NBN is unable to deliver the quality that was promised by the Government. The article also mentioned Bill Morrow’s comment on this, admitting that …

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Broadcasting – Submission to Productivity Commission from 1999 (20 years ago)

The wonders of electronics. I suddenly received a notification about this submission I made in 1999. It is interesting to look back on predictions I made 20 years ago 🙂 From: Paul Budde Sent: Monday, May 03, 1999 4:34 PM To: ’broadcasting@pc.gov.au’ Subject: Broadcasting – Submission to Productivity Commission   Broadcasting – Submission to Productivity …

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Labor’s NBN strategy

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Labor’s plan for the NBN start with a full blown technical and financial review of the NBN. Labor’s  election plan for the NBN  was announced this morning  by the Shadow Minister for Communication Michelle Rowland. It is impossible to come up with any good strategy for the future …

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Will the Federal election be able to end the NBN mess?

Over the last few months further information has come to light about the problems the NBN is facing and it is clear that the government will have to step in in order to address the mountain problems of the service. However, in all reality this will not happen till after the Federal Elections. The regular …

Will the Federal election be able to end the NBN mess? Read More »

Happy New Year – The NBN and the Australian Telecoms Year ahead.

I hope that those of you who celebrated Christmas enjoyed being together with families and friends, and that everyone took the opportunity for a break from the everyday world. Happily the holiday season continues so most of us will have a bit more relaxing time ahead. And of course the new year is upon us. …

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Cooperative structure option for the NBN 

Guest blog by Stewart Fist Cooperative structure option for the NBN  The value of the full-fibre NBN being a “common good” –  should be seen the same as roadways.  But like toll-ways, governments and corporations can still find ways to export these facilities either for profit, or for stoking up their budgets. However there often …

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NBN and the common good – write offs and Telstra’s interest in buying it.

Looking back over the last 30 years less emphasis is now placed on the ‘common good’ than was the case before the 1980s. I will link this to the NBN a bit further in this analysis. Over the last few decades, often for very good reasons, we began to privatise what had been government businesses …

NBN and the common good – write offs and Telstra’s interest in buying it. Read More »

New CEO at the NBN company – where to go from here?

  The internal appointment of Stephen Rue clearly indicates that neither the government nor the NBN company are planning any changes. Some of the questions that have been raised over the last year include; does part of the nbn investment needs to be written down in order for it the be financial viable; what are the …

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Is there a business case for the National Broadband Network?

It will come as no surprise to those who have followed my analyses of the NBN over the last decade that in my submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network Inquiry into the business case for the National Broadband Network I stated that  the business model and investment model for the …

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Good opportunities for the NBN

Ever since we started talking about the national broadband network there has been a constant flow of confusing information about the need for fixed broadband, especially in comparison with all the fascinating mobile broadband developments that are taking place. Often that confusion is fuelled from the top. Not so very long ago Malcolm Turnbull, when …

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Optus makes sure there will be competition in 5G

After lots of talk about 5G being a potential competitor to the NBN, Optus is throwing the cat among the pigeons. Its announcement of a fixed wireless product is challenging the NBN head-on. It will be interesting to see what the reaction from the national broadband company will be, as it has already hinted at …

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What is the future for our mobile network operators?

‘Wireless is just one wire less’ or ‘Wireless is just spectrum wrapped around a  fibre core” The Australian mobile telecommunication industry is continuing to resist structural changes, but the reality is that if they don’t transform, technology will do it for them. We have seen the fixed telecom operators slowly being pushed back into the …

What is the future for our mobile network operators? Read More »

The NBN in the broader context of global telecom developments

Just back from my trip to Europe where I followed some of the key international telecoms developments. Because of the highly politicised situation around the NBN in Australia it is important to look beyond the sometimes parochially-focussed NBN discussion in our country. At the joint forum of the Long-Term Infrastructure Investments Association (LTIIA) and the …

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The next NBN battle: Affordability vs Profit

The ACCC has announced an investigation into the NBN. The trouble is that the NBN needs a political solution; the current problems can’t be solved through regulatory changes. The underlying policy model is flawed and that issue will need to be addressed before we can solve the rest of the mess. Sadly, this will not …

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The future NBN might look rather different

In all reality it looks like the multi-technology mix (MTM) as it is currently being rolled out by the nbn company is as good as it will get. Some Australians will have an excellent service, especially those on fibre-to-the-home (FttH) and fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) technologies. Others won’t see any difference from the current ADSL services they …

The future NBN might look rather different Read More »

Don’t look at Kenya, look at Sweden.

  A recent article from Bloomberg on the NBN, in which I was also quoted, mentioned that Kenya had faster broadband than Australia. While that was true for a tiny part of that country, most people in Kenya don’t have speeds that high. The Australian Prime Minister jumped on that and ridiculed the Bloomberg comparison. …

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The importance of high-speed broadband in regional Australia

It is still a battle to extend the perception of the importance of high-speed broadband beyond fast access to the internet or to Netflix. But the social and economic benefits are equally important, especially looking towards medium- and long-term future development of the region. The healthcare, government services and education sectors are undergoing massive transformations, …

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Upgrading the NBN with G.fast has its limitations

Quite coincidentally, at the same time that G.fast is being discussed in Australia a similar discussion is taking place in the USA; and there is doubt there too about the contribution that G.fast can make to improve the performance of the faltering broadband systems in both countries. G.fast is a band-aid solution that can be …

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Let’s press the reset button on the NBN

Opinion editorial for the Australian Financial Review There are now overwhelming signs that all is not well with the NBN, through its ACMA intervention the government now also admits that all is not well. ACMA will investigate the war that is going on between the nbn company and its customers, the retail service providers (RSPs). …

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Australian National Broadband Network rollout finally gains momentum

Within the market there is a dynamic shift among customers to fibre networks, as this infrastructure is being built out by nbn (NBN Co), the company responsible for the national broadband deployment. Australia’s broadband sector is making improved progress in its migration to a multi-technology the NBN. Growth in the overall number of broadband subscribers …

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Australia’s NBN preps for G.fast and DOCSIS3.1 services in 2017

Growth in the Australian fixed broadband market has slowed in line with higher penetration rates. Within the market there is a dynamic shift among customers to fibre networks, as this infrastructure is being built out by nbn (NBN Co), the company responsible for the national broadband deployment. While fibre has become by far the fastest …

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Telecoms infrastructure and digital technologies lead the way

  There are a number of industries leading the current changes brought about by the digital evolution – but none more so than the ICT industry. This sector alone has been transformational in developing the appropriate infrastructure, services and equipment required to underpin our societies of the future. The enormous shift towards digital technologies continues …

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The role of FttH in the development of 5G

As the roll out of FttH remains a slow process it is no wonder that more and more people are looking towards mobile as a potential alternative. Obviously mobile communication has improved over recent years in providing excellent access to broadband; and it has also become more affordable. At the same time there is the …

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The role of the NBN in the development of 5G

With an NBN that is failing many customers it is no wonder that more and more people are looking towards mobile as a potential alternative. Obviously mobile communication has improved over recent years in providing excellent access to broadband; and it has also become more affordable. At the same time there is the fabulous hype …

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Mobile infrastructure will ultimately rely on fibre broadband

In 2017 mobile broadband subscriptions are growing rapidly and LTE infrastructure now carries over 65% of all global mobile traffic. While mobile and fixed will always exist in parallel, there is no doubt that with a faltering fixed network and an excellent mobile network, mobile will give fixed a run for its money. With competitively …

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NBN customer service is appalling

Back in October last year we reported on our disappointment regarding our two NBN services. We have an FttB service in Sydney (replacing our ADSL2+ service) and a satellite connection in Bucketty (100km from Sydney). As reported, both services are disappointing. The service in Sydney is no better than the previous ADSL2+ service, but at least no …

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Will Telstra be able to create a more affordable alternative to the NBN

If we go back to the early days of the NBN, now more than a decade ago, some of you might recall that from the very first day we have maintained that affordability was more important than the latest technology. I actually said that affordability was THE most important element of an NBN. Subsequent governments …

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From DSL to FttN, G.FAST, Fttdp, XG-FAST – building the NBN the tortuous way

In September 2016, NBN Co indicated its interest in a technology known as XG.Fast, it is a next level up from the G.Fast technology they started to trial in 2015 and it also needs to be seen in the yet still bigger picture of Fttdp (fibre to the distribution point). The development and deployment of …

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Flawed NBN structure undermines competition

Bevan Slattery’s scathing attack on ACCC boss Rod Sims in CommsDay might be a reflection of the attacker’s towering personality but he most certainly has a point. When the government changed the NBN policy from full fibre to mixed technology they fundamentally changed the nature of the project, including the underlying fundamentals. That being the case, …

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High-speed infrastructure takes hold – paving the way for revenue streams

Recently there was an important development for the broadband sector when the market share of fibre infrastructure lines finally overtook DSL technologies as the largest on a global level. The fixed broadband network is the infrastructure needed to meet the needs, both economic and societal, of the developed markets. In fact in many of these …

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The next development in wireless broadband

In the USA the FCC has started the discussion on the next level of telecoms in the wireless market, aimed at making spectrum in bands above 24GHz available for flexible-use of wireless services,  including next-generation, or 5G networks and technologies. New technologies such as massive-MIMO are going to make it possible to deliver ‘fibre-like’ speeds …

The next development in wireless broadband Read More »

China Continues to Evolve as a World Leader in the Digital Media Sector

The Chinese telecom market is the largest in the world in terms of subscribers and is undergoing transition. Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed voice connections and voice is giving way to data as the primary revenue generator. China’s telecom market is served by three operators; China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. All three are integrated …

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Is building FttH cheaper than upgrading the HFC networks?

Within the debate of the Multi Technology Mix of the Australian NBN, where the HFC also gets included in this mix for approx 20-25% of the connections, it interesting to follow the debate on the upgrade of this infrastructure in America. Cable networks around the world are now faced with a major technology upgrade known …

Is building FttH cheaper than upgrading the HFC networks? Read More »

Smart City Ipswich

When the Australian government’s National Broadband Network was announced in 2009, Ipswich partnered with surrounding regions to create what they called the Western Corridor National Broadband Network in order to attract national interests and investments. This early start paid off well for the council as it became one of the first recipients of the NBN …

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