CHOICE membership

The "Never Never Broadband Network" - NBN complaints



Can we afford to not have a fast, reliable national broadband network?
No, we cannot.

The costs of a slow national broadband network; of an unreliable national broadband network; of a “national” broadband network tht doesn’t reach all parts of the nation - these are HIGH costs that generations of Australians and Australian businesses will continue to pay (unless the next government fixes the schermozzle).


I was gobsmacked when I read this. 11-days down for all of phone, internet, and mobile, including EFTPOS and everything related to all the above in an NT town (pop. 500) 100km from Darwin.

A faulty air-conditioner in the town’s ageing telephone exchange was understood to have triggered the initial breakdown.

There was apparently no restoration plan beyond a paper script with nothing to support its implementation. The numbers of single points of failure across the NBN, especially in localised areas, could be breath taking as well as life and business taking if it is not a lot better than this fiasco.


Apparently, many FttN nodes produce so much heat (which is wasted power) that they’re air conditioned (consuming more power). That was one of the complications that delayed construction after the abandonment of FttP. Getting enough power to where it’s needed.

How many nodes are there? :expressionless:


We have a few hot days occasionally - haven’t seen any aircon’s on nodes yet …



I gather, when it’s installed (and it isn’t in every node), the gear is inside the cabinet, not visible from the outside. Even without aircon, FttN consumes many times the energy of FttP. That’s an ongoing running cost.


Not necessarily authoritative, but sounds right (at the top but then digresses quickly).


So next time Scott Morrison turns up in Parliament with a lump of coal he’ll be able to say “we need it to keep the NBN going”!?


It would appear useful to install a heat pump cooling system for an NBN node. Is it at all necessary, or are circulating cooling fans all that are required? Air cons need regular filter cleaning and water drain points and a refrigerant air compressor that is far from silent?

To date are there any other supporting mass failures of NBN nodes in the inland regions or tropics? There would be quite a few in service, perhaps as many as 100,000 nationally to select from?

In the failure noted the reference is to an exchange building air con.

The evidence that street side nodes are air conditioned remains to be confirmed.

It may be that the node was installed in the building for convenience and correctly if the enclosed building lost air con it gets very hot? Perhaps it is nothing to do with the node directly and something related to another ancillary item of equipment located in the old exchange. Eg power supply or fibre backhaul connection?

Does Telstra still maintain the exchange to service it’s out of FTTN range copper customers, while the NBN has simply colocated in the exchange for convenience? Is this an example of an interface failure between Telstra and the NBN Co? Something that may occur in many regional towns where the local community has only one NBN node, which is logically colocated in the local exchange for convenience of connecting to the copper for the township.


In a “sunburnt country… of droughts and flooding rains”, it appears that heat may not be the only problem for FTTN cabinets.

So - instead of a passive medium like FTTP, we go with these cabinets that will likely overheat in hot weather and be shut down every time there’s a flood. Lucky Australia never has heat waves or floods! /s


Depends on climate. Some places, passive cooling is enough.

Or be targets of vandalism or:


With FttP, there’s usually little if anything above ground (yes, I know about the limited areas served by overhead fibre).

Another thing that’s just come up; FttN nodes contain lots of valuable stuff. Targets for theft?

Among the valuable stuff is batteries. The batteries have a design life of 15 years – at 20° C. What will be the temperature in most NBN cabinets for much of the time? What will that do to the service life of the batteries?


Since the floods in Bowral in June 2016, just how many instances are there of major disruption due to on the street FTTN nodes dying due to extreme temperatures or Flood events?

Some reliable data since then might help our understanding of the full extent of the NBN’s short comings in this instance. In the past Telstra took steps to build key infrastructure above major flood levels, but only after learning the hard way too!

Yes the short sighted mixed technology solution for the NBN is a long way short of the original Labour promise.

If there is a change in the near future in the direction of the NBN, what will the priority be.

  1. To stop the roll out and have a nation of have and have nots?
  2. To prioritise upgrading all existing customers of the NBN while those without the NBN Continue to miss out and wait even longer?
  3. To leave all existing customers and those able to connect as they are and to deliver proper broadband into all areas where no service is available?
  4. Where the NBN rollout is now 50%, 60%, 90% ready or near complete, do you scrap the progress, throw away the many billions spent, and start again? Noting this might be up to the remaining 30% of all premises to be included in the roll out.

I favour option three as we have two places still on adsl and we will win with this option. There are a great many prospective customers and voters this might find favour with?

Options 1 and 2 might leave the most difficult to service customers with possibly the worst service or no access out in the cold and very very grumpy :rage:?

Option 4 might be economic or political suicide which ever way you lean, which might make this a very unlikely outcome?

A polite suggestion is that with the NBN rollout dragging those without any access or stuck on poor adsl acccess don’t care all that much as consumers about getting a perfect solution. For those consumers any solution will be better than none?

Are there any surveys that look at the public consumer sentiment of those currently without access to the NBN?


Ho! Ho! Ho! :santa:


I’m still on ADSL2+, and I would happily wait a little longer to get FTTP rather than FTTN. Half-baked solutions like the current one are designed to fit a three year electoral cycle - not the kind of long-term thinking that recognises the exponential increases in demand for data that have already occurred over the last thirty years and that show no signs of slowing.


It appears neither the NBNCo nor Telstra can manage a basic VOIP connection either. At first I thought he just missed the cut-off time and had not arranged NBN service, but no. It reads like complete inability and thus incompetence to make it work for him.


I’m in the I’d prefer to wait too, only we are not even getting FTTN. We already have speed issues with our ADSL2+ service connection speeds. Possibly due to these services running concurrent with FTTN VDSL that services nearby properties.

I can also relate what residents of our local community expressed as concerns recently at a meeting with the Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield and the local Federal MP Andrew Wallace.

The top complaints were firstly about lack of mobile coverage, secondly with getting access to the NBN (many customers are outside of even ADSL service range). In third place the existing NBN service. There were mixed views from those with access concerning NBN speeds and services. These included uncertainty over connections, with some residents complaints about how good the neighbours service was, while theirs was lesser.

There was only one vocal criticism of the NBN technology. It came with a comparison of the speeds experienced while visiting a residence in the USA. It may be worth noting that the US premises described was likely serviced using an overhead or aerial strung service, technology not known.

As an aside some of my near neighbours are happy as they are and don’t want anything to do with the NBN having heard all the negatives to date. They may be prepared to wait indefinitely. They certainly do not want to pay any more in the future than they do now. It’s unlikely they would consider another ten or twenty billions spend on the NBN a good thing, as it is already a waste?

There are a wide range of views on the NBN around here.


How do you adequately compensate someone for doing this to them?? (I don’t think you can.)


As I have stated previously I do not like the MTM NBN at all, I am all for FTTP wherever it is possible to put it in place and I only support Satellite and Fixed Wireless when there is no currently viable way to provide FTTP. Even in those cases I believe that FTTP should be the planned upgrade as soon as it is practicable, I think the end result would be some very small pockets of Satellite and FW for some reasonable time into the future. All that being said the following is the reality at the moment…

The majority who will get FTTN will get a better max throughput speed than most on ADSL (whatever iteration they have). This is purely because most will have a node that isn’t too far from them and so speeds should be better than 24/1.5 that ADSL maxes out at. How much better is what is the big question. 25/5 is the stated minimum for FTTN that is supposed to be guaranteed. A user may be paying more for a 25/5 connection via FTTN (NBN) than what they have to pay for an ADSL package and I can agree that it seems wrong but then someone has/had to pay for the change to NBN infrastructure just as originally people had to pay for the copper placements we had. Telephones were not cheap to have in the very early days.

The LNP Govt said quite plainly that the speeds most would need out of the NBN was 25/5 and people voted for that, they said it would be cheaper to build and people voted for that, they said it would be faster to build and people voted for that, people didn’t want the Labor plan of mostly Fibre to the premises and so they voted against that. So what we got was what we (the Australian Electorate) voted for and now most don’t like it even though everyone was told what the LNP outcome would be.

The other part of people not wanting to ditch ADSL in an FTTN serviced area is that come disconnection of the ADSL after the changeover period they may not have any internet or landline phone until they buy a NBN package. There is currently no requirement for NBNCo to maintain a copper circuit back to the exchange for those wanting to remain with ADSL rather than switch to FTTN. For those getting Satellite or Fixed Wireless they can keep the copper. I am not sure what they would need to do to keep an ADSL connection unless they are among those 250,000 or so identified in the latest report who will be allowed to stay on ADSL because of their rural/remote residences.

So how is all this fixed? Big, Deep, Non scrooge pockets of money to cut the rot out of the system eg removing copper where fibre should be, retiring FTTN Nodes even before they are in place or had their costs recovered, digging up huge trenches of dirt to lay fibre to as many places we can…

Knowing most of what happened previously is going to happen again with Billions of dollars now wasted it will be a very brave Govt that does this and personally I can’t see any of the current selection biting that painful vote killing, election losing, bullet. They would rather just send Ministers out to various meetings, make some sweet talk, take a bit of heckling, have some committees, write some reports, tinker at the edges and the end outcome is that the status quo remains (it’s just way cheaper to do this with less electoral pain).


The Australian Constitution provides under section 51(xxxi) that the Parliament has the legislative power for “the acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws”. I don’t think this has been tested when the effect of government action has been to destroy property - intellectual, business or personal. Certainly have been plenty of stories about Sydney businesses that have been adversely affected by state government actions in recent years (building of new tunnels, roads etc. that during the construction phase have physically separated the businesses from their customers), and one would think that there is some form of obligation - whether under the Constitution or common law. The trouble is that the cost of taking any government to court over business losses - especially if there is a constitutional element - would be ruinous for any individual or small business.

No, The Castle was not a documentary.

I don’t know of anyone who has voted based on such a singular issue - and those who had a clue certainly didn’t want MTM. The electorate was bombarded with slogans like “ditch the witch” (and worse), the LNP had the total support of the Murdoch press, they fought a divided government and they still barely won! At which point they immediately started breaking almost every ‘promise’ they had made during the campaign - except those they made to ‘mates’.

As for getting ‘what was promised’, that was supposed to happen by 2016… two years ago! To be clear, they promised ‘faster, better, cheaper’ - and have delivered on none of those three.

You are almost certainly correct in stating that no government is going to be in a position to fix this mess - of course, that was always part of the plan. A decent NBN would be a threat to certain existing business interests, and so delay and deceive was duly delivered.

It is possible that as the copper deteriorates FTTP will be spread more widely - that would certainly be the sensible choice.


No they don’t generally vote on singular issues nor did they at the time but also at the time the LNP major line was about the NBN cost, timeliness and suitability. It was a major thrust of their platform for getting elected. A majority of seats in marginal seats went the way of LNP and I do think many of those were swayed by the size of the cost aspect of the Fibre NBN plus the upheavals in the Labor party. The Electorate got what it voted for, the political promises, and we have also failed to get real outcomes as you pointed out.

As to the promised timeline, cost and suitability I also remember those being savaged by experts in Internet fields and communications yet I also remember the media, the LNP, and many voters disagreeing with those experts. Many who did have a clue were drowned out by the hip pocket cries.

They barely won but the electorate voted them in and they took that “mandate” and ran with it, then blaming any delay on the previous Labor Govt. Now many are disaffected with LNP and they hopefully/will likely be defeated in the next Federal election but we are left with the costs, contracts, and sub standard NBN and the difficult task of again making the case for spending probably just as much if not more again to fix the mess. Almost a situation of throwing good money after bad.

The NBN is bad, we know that it is bad, we want fixes but are the marginal seats again going to be swayed by costs rather than outcomes? Is there enough fortitude in the required political members backbones to take the hits that will be unleashed so that the thing is fixed? That’s what I don’t know but I suspect there isn’t yet. So I still say they will have their town/community/interest group meetings, they will spend a little money on tinkering, they will take some bad press and angry users and they will spread political balm where they can, they will distract from issues by inflaming sections of the community about threats of security and so on, so that in the end they don’t have to spend the real needed big dollars and they will keep providing the cheap bandages.

NBNCo has purchased huge amounts of copper to fix the failing copper whenever possible rather than re-purpose to fibre. As was noted previously in this topic:

Sensible to move to fibre - sure is but sensible is not what we have got so far and why will it change?


Oh boy, does the Communications Minister say some stupid things in that ABC article.

“The Coalition’s faster, more affordable NBN rollout is keeping your internet bills down and your taxes lower.”

This is the rollout they said would be done by 2016, right? The one that would cost ‘half’ what ‘the other mob’ has planned’? And they are doubling down on copper after having been thoroughly burnt by the Telstra experience? It is almost as if they owed favours to some owners of copper mines or smelters - but we know such people never get involved in politics or run political campaigns.

I hate seeing my money wasted. If they’re not going to build a proper Internet backbone, at least start spending money on other things that matter - like raising the unemployment benefit and stopping the ill treatment of all who happen to require government assistance. If they want to save money (a common mantra for this government in almost all areas), shut down off-shore refugee ‘processing’ hellholes. Focus on the important things, not the politically expedient!