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Govt Could Increase FttP Rollout, New Minister Tells Press

Govt Could Increase FttP Rollout, New Minister Tells Press

The speculation comes as commentator Paul Budde, among others, yesterday renewed his call for the NBN to move back to a fully-blown FttP network, bringing Australia into line with other developed countries.

Under the original plan introduced by Labor, FttP – also know as fibre to the home, or FttH –  was to be the major connection technology in urban areas of Australia. 

But the current plan adopted by the Coalition Government – at the urging of then Comms Minister Malcolm Turnbull – has proposed limiting FttP to 20 percent of the population,.

Some 29 percent are set to be connected via the slower fibre to the node (FttN) technology; 34 percent by hybrid fibre-coaxial cable; 11 per cent by fibre to the basement (FttB); 5 percent via fixed wireless; and the remaining 3 per cent, mainly in outback areas, by satellite.

But new Comms Minister Mitch Fifield has this week suggested that the Turnbull Government may be open to raising the figure for FttP.

“The NBN as an organisation is technology-agnostic,” he told Fairfax Media when pressed on the matter during an interview. 

” It’s whatever of the current four main mechanisms for providing connections for people is the right one .

“There could be a rebalancing between those four mechanisms – those current likely percentages are not set in stone . things can evolve.”

Budde Communications’ Paul Budde in a blog yesterday noted that when the NBN was launched in 2009 one of the goals was to get the country into the top 10 of the international ladder. 

“Now, in 2015, we have dropped to the 42nd position – mainly due to the ongoing delays in the rollout of the project, because of the partisan political situation in the country,” he said.

“With the rest of the world now moving clearly towards FttP, Australia is set to linger on at the bottom of the international ladder for many years to come.”

Budde added: “After the mining boom, it is clear that Australia needs to diversify and that our very poor level of productivity needs to be improved, and the digital economy is key in that . We shouldn’t stop at the already out-of-date multi-mix technologies – these should be extended as soon as possible to a fully-blown FttH network, in line with what other developed nations are building.”

However Ovum analyst David Kennedy has thrown a dash of cold water onto all this, saying that the longer the Coalition’s multi-technology-mix  plan continues, the harder it will be to change the proportions of the technologies used, due to contracts having been signed.

“It is possible that there will be more FttP in the future, but the recent trend is for it to reduce,” he said yesterday.