CHOICE membership

The "Never Never Broadband Network" - NBN complaints



One analysis has it that, by the time we’ve built the mess, cleaned it up, then built what we need, we’ll have spent around $200 billion and lost decades of opportunities. The lost opportunities will probably cost more than the $200 billion.


Exactly; public focus has been on capex, where claimed savings from the MTM are evaporating weekly, but the two other major costs of MTM are yet to become apparent:

  • The vastly increased maintenance bill to keep old and unsuitable network types operational.

  • Loss to our national productivity (GDP) by imposing MTM systems that’ll be obsolete and unfit for purpose by the time it’s finally finished.


I thought that milestone was reached already. :wink:


They choose their words correctly, but call me a cynic …


OK, you’re a cynic. :wink:

Comparing the May report with that from February, it seems there’s been a slight rise in 100 Mb/s services and an even more substantial increase in gigabit subscriptions (the latter, off a very low base). I haven’t actually done any analysis, just run an eye over the figures.


Where my cynicism kicks in is them talking about ‘users on x plan’ etc, not ‘how fast the internet is’ to ma and pa Kettle.

One area that would be very interesting to get a report, and completely doable, is sync rate. NBN and the ISP outfits either already know this or it would be trivial to survey - eg, how many people have upgraded to 100 plans but still can’t sync over 50, but we are happy to take their money. same for the lower ones. Little point in turbocharging a scooter …

Of course sync rate tells us performance from customer to node (varies by delivery mode - fibre to premises has a tendency to just be signalling rate strangely enough) - then there’s actual useful throughput to some meaningful location (I know, is there anything meaningful on the internet? oh, wait, yes, this forum and the Whiskey Club, but other than that …). People are trying to measure that, but ultimately it becomes more murky …

I’ve worked in the industry - had the perception at times that organised crime was more organised, and only slightly less ethical … whoops, was that my outside voice talking? :wink:


I would hazard that most speed plans over the usual residential ones up to the 100/40, eg the 1000/400 are more likely the result of sales to businesses that require the extreme throughput or are other resellers who are purchasing it to for example sell to a new development they are maintaining. The ACCC spreadsheet write up also notes it does not break this into distinctly residential and Wholesale “the extracts do not separately identify access services that are used by access seekers to supply retail or wholesale services”. I am not surprised that it would be a small subset of total connections or that it has grown a bit. There might also be some wealthy residential buyers but I would think they would be a very tiny portion of that already small number.

I think the growth to higher speed tiers in general is because consumers are now becoming a bit more aware of what is doable. Telstra and others early on either sold 25/5 packages or 100/40 ones. They then got tackled over the 100/40 non achievers and went back to a more conservative selling approach of offering 25/5 with the promise to apply speed boosts if a line was able to support it. So we have a more aware public many of whom started out on a 12/1 or a 25/5 and then got “hungry” for more. These got a boost to 50/20 or they went to the 100/40. Then we have the non achievers who either dropped to a 50/20 package or went to a 25/5 and then retried at the 50/20.

This is reflected in ACCC’s reporting on improvement particularly in the 50/20 group:

"Report found the number of 50Mbps services being acquired from NBN Co increased from 158,959 to 989,360
Retailers have taken up these incentives in large numbers, enabling their customers to transfer to the higher 50Mbps speed tier, which offers them a better NBN experience.

“We are pleased to see retailers taking up the higher speed services and enabling their customers to shift to 50Mbps plans. This is good for consumers who can enjoy the benefits of higher speeds,” Mr Sims said."

It is good to see CVC climbing, albeit slowly, with only really a 0.03 Mbps change in 3 months. It might earn high praise from the ACCC but with the “special discount deal done” you would like to think this would have grown more substantially than it has. I think it still shows 1) a still relatively high CVC cost even with discounting & 2) the reluctance of RSPs to spend any more than the absolute minimum they have to (so as to keep the customer complaints from creating too many ACCC waves). In the 2nd point I think the RSPs try to keep a balance of the complaints Vs costs that might be described as an art form in it’s rendition.

I don’t think this is as much of an issue as it was in the beginning. Once the ACCC fined and started making TPG, Telstra and Optus reimburse customers and void contracts for the failed 100/40 plans, I think many decided it was more prudent to offer the softer 25/5 option and then check sync rates and offer boosts based on that.

Though you do raise an interesting point about the measurement of sync and that is about the Choice NBN monitoring program. Perhaps that is something that participants could check and report on, it would be good if the test unit could interrogate the modem/router for it and send it as part of it’s data packet but I am not sure how smart it is in that regard. But regardless a user would only need to probably report it once unless some large change occurred to the supply eg when ADSL is cut off in an area. Something for Choice perhaps to ask Louise Hudson about?


That’s certainly true, but as far as non-technical users (ie, most people) are concerned, they’ve been subjected to a long and relentless barrage of negative news on NBN.

From Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull excoriated every aspect of the NBN and NBNCo, including some of the staff, and at least one media group ran a campaign that may indicate they saw it as a threat to their business model.

Then there was the two year delay while the existing NBN rollout was halted and the MTM was being developed, and now there’s a rising tide of complaint as people can’t get the speeds they’ve paid for. Little wonder most have ignored their needs and opted for lowball offers, where they’re much more likely to get what they’ve ordered.


I don’t for even 1 minute support the MTM plan. I think every premises should be on at least Gb plans via fibre to the premises (I do mean every premises).

But currently this is not doable, but people are slowly opting into faster plans where they can, even if not the speeds they should have the choice for.


We are still a long way from the NBN being complete.
There is some logic to the plan ‘B’ of the LIbs that recognised the difficulties of a full FTTH solution. We could debate whether the current mix of technologies was any better thought than Labour’s plan. It is what it is!

Should the NBN be sold defective or incomplete? I hope not.

When We finally get the NBN it will be FTP, because I will be paying for it under the ‘technology choice’ program. There is a slight outside chance that the NBN Co will figure out that our street is in a Fixed Wireless blind spot and not force us onto Satellite. FTN ends 400m up the road. According to the NBNCo we all have this option but only after they deliver a service that is not what we need.

There is still a lack of transparency around the future of the NBN. What will happen after the NBN is sold needs to be the number one concern heading into an election that will decide which party gets to do the deal.?

True there is a lot else to complain about, for some only! Of the 12% estimated to be on FW or the overloaded Satellite system many will still be better off than before. Of the rest the promises align with the rollout ratios for the higher speed technologies vs those 1100m away on FTTN. Other than a small group of forward looking citizens like those on these posts who have a little knowledge the majority of us don’t see the significant short comings in the services being rolled out to more than half of Australia. What level of complaint can the government of the day expect? Less than is deserved?

In the end NBN is being set up for a gigantic sale. The current pricing models are as much about making it an attractive sale proposition as reducing funding pressure. The rest does not matter as like the major city airports sold off to BAC in Brisbane etc, you have no alternatives. Telstra on steroids?

No one is talking now about the costs of all those future post NBN sale upgrades. I’ll complain that under the current political plan we don’t know how upgrades will be funded, or prioritised. We can however be certain that by 2025 or sooner we will need them given the current exponential increase in demand for data. And some one will need to find the billions. And it will not be the new owner that provides the finances.


You rightly say no one is talking about the (vast) cost of necessary upgrades to non-FTTP parts of MTM. As shadow Comms Minister, Turnbull complained much about lack of transparency, but it seems under his MTM regime, access to many details has become almost impossible, beyond any staged media photo opportunities.

You also say you’ll pay to get FTTP under Technology Choice, but it’d be interesting to know if you’ve had a quote from NBNCo for your connection. In what seems an attempt to discourage use of FTTP, they charge a large fee just to supply a figure, and the cost quoted for the job itself is likely to be astronomical.


It’s the lack of transparency, lack of evidence of actual costs, and inability to independently assess outcomes on a customer by customer basis that drives my desire to seek understanding.

The longer version is the rest of our community including the first house in our road is at the FTN install stage. The next nine properties including ours are at the design stage for Fixed Wireless with delivery at the end of 2019,

I have my doubts. Due to geography and tall forest only some of us will get an adequate FW signal. Hello satellite! It is also a known the NBN Co considers FW peak time data rates as low as 6Mb/s acceptable. We will all need 50-100Mb/s speeds before the NBN is halfway to sale. So no go!

I expect that properties with good NBN service will sell at a premium and those without sell at a discount. Better NBN will also make it much easier and faster to sell.

I expect that per the NBN rollout to up to half of our area will be technically limited to the ‘up to 25Mb/s’ service standard. The remainder on FTN and who are on short cable runs will be able to get ‘up to 50Mb/s’. One technical comparison of the VDSL2 service used with FTN says it is capable of only up to 70Mb;s compared to it’s slower cousin ADSL2 at up to 25Mb/s. FTP can go much faster if needed.

Currently NBN Co only offer one upgrade path. That is FTP, however I willl have to wait to receive a firm quote due to the NBN Co’s procedures. Quotes are only negotiated after you are connected! I may be surprised. There is no cost to apply, to be considered, only a cost if you choose to proceed to a firm quote.

There is a community upgrade option. It is one in all in, requires a local govt co-contribution/support as I read the form, and is recommended for groups of 350 to 450 customers. Business blocks, multi dwelling properties, caravan parks etc can also apply. The NBN Co is trying to hold back individuals from changing any outcomes until the NBN Co is near to finished. This will only make it all the more expensive for individuals. There appears to be no easy path forward. Unless all my 24 near neighbours also apply at the same time. There is not a lot of interest, partly due to a lack of clarity and a large degree of scepticism around previous promises from Canberra.

As further motivation there are future risks with increased demand on FW and uncertainty as to who willl pay for any upgrades to capacity. NBN Co has already said that the cost of the FW rollout is so high it may never make money. I don’t believe or accept that the future owner of the NBN will upgrade at their cost a loss making system to make even greater losses. Unless of course it is priced differently and significantly higher than the Fixed Line system. Sky Muster already is priced higher.


That limit is incorrect, as a previous FTTN user I can attest to download speeds of 98 Mbps and regularly in the 80 to 88 Mbps except when it was peak usage when CVC issues made it very bad. Uploads were much less affected by time of use and we regularly got 36 Mpbs with some highest peaks being around 41 Mbps. To achieve these speeds you do need to be within 300ish metres of the Node and on very good copper. If 400 - 450 metres you would expect the 50 to 70 peak speeds or if lucky a little higher…

As I have said before I do not like FTTN, it is not really what we need by any stretch of imagination. It fails to really be serviceable over larger distances, anything more than 650 m it starts to really show impacts of distance. Copper is deteriorating in every area of Australia so will need remediation sooner rather than later, adding cost to already costly fixes. It is less than satisfactory as far as ensuring power remains intact for making calls during power failures. It has a limited bandwidth not far over what it supplies at 100 Mbps unless you are sitting next door to the hub so is not really speed upgradeable into the future.

FTTC is the next knee jerk move to get greater speeds to homes and probably for a number of homes is probably as good as it needs to be currently (except for power outage issues), but still comes a poor second to fibre and future needs.

Fixed Wireless (FW) was originally seen as a necessary fill for areas where fibre could not have been easily implemented but FW would have supplied a reasonable service where only a very basic or non existent service had been before. But the MTM removed the chance for a lot of the fibre to be put in place and FW was used to cover some of that changed fibre footprint.

No matter how much we keep saying it, proving it and hating it, we are stuck at the moment with an inferior product. If someone pays for a Tech Choice upgrade they are basically funding the profits of the sale of the NBN and the future profits of those who will buy it and they will charge, for the privilege of the upgraded service, the user who paid for the upgrade.


Appreciated, accept that you may get faster on FTTN per your experience. The NBN Co is shy on more technical details. The only charts I could locate all had a cap for cable lengths of approx 400m or less. The long Choice wiki on the NBN is a great source of information, thanks. The recently evolved NBN weekly etc reports offer a few clues on costs.

I’d relish knowing the exact rollout counts and stats for my area as well as cost estimates and budgets! It’s unfortunate for what is public infrastructure these details are hidden from our more specific scrutiny.

As you mentioned FW has been used to backfill the reduced fibre footprint. For smaller rural townships this reduction in fibre came with no significant increase in FW costs. I have not so far away neighbours in similar circumstances to our street marked as FTTC and located on the edge of a FTTN area. They are also at least one km further from the local exchange! I’m not complaining. I would appreciate being able to see the cost and technical reasoning behind that outcome to understand what is possible for our street.

P.s. I have 12 adjoining neighbours and another 10 immediately across the bitumen. If I thought I could pull it off I’d connect all of them thru my one future fibre service. You could probably educate me as to why I have more chance of falling thru a back hole unharmed. More practically the NBN should have proactively discussed better options with all of us. Now that is a complaint about the NBN process!(


Many businesses will routinely say that they intend to record your conversation; if you refuse they will not discuss your issues over the phone. Of course, I have tried telling a business that had just finished telling me about its recording policy that I had a policy of recording phone calls - the ‘customer service’ person freaked out! It was as though the business had a divine right, but mere humans were not permitted to record phone calls with businesses.

Yes - but you forgot to mention Murdoch’s role in Australia’s current mess

I have an insight to share for free… put everyone on FTTP, you morons!

No surprises there, but did he table the document? I wouldn’t mind reading it, but don’t know when he gave that speech.


I agree with your dissatisfaction.

I would also suggest you talk to your close (22) neighbours and possibly your Council about an Area switch This Area choice has a FDA (Quote) that would cost your group $1,100 so about $50 per household to find out NBNCo costs to give you all FTTC/FTTP depending on what choice you make. Currently it would be likely much cheaper to go FTTC and then when more financial as an area or as an individual go to fibre as they would lay fibre closer to you now ie your pits and use your existing copper to finish it to your houses.

There is a topic on this forum that discusses distances from the node affecting speed.

In there are several charts showing both speeds available from the node to a premises, this is a work in progress by it’s author so data is not complete.

Also several charts that show distances greater than 400m are linked/copied into the topic

I hope these links are helpful to you.


The Govt refused allowing the document to be tabled but he did speak to matters in the document…


Dagnabbit! He should throw it over to a Senate colleague.


Another article that echoes many of the MTM shortcoming from around the same period.

Would he listen to us to hand it over to a Senate colleague. Would it matter so much now? But it would be nice to see it tabled for all to read.

I’ll ask him. Sent him an email asking him if it can be done.


OIptus just got hit with a big fine for misleading it’s HFC customers over switching to the NBN. The fine was $1.5 million and they have also already paid out over $800,000 in compensation to affected users.

To read more detail on the news about it go to: