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Australia - The National Broadband Network - Moving into 2017

  • August 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 199 pages

NBN making progress but dark clouds ahead
By late 2016 – seven years after the launch of the NBN – over two million premises were able to connect to the NBN. So far three-quarters have access to FttH (fibre to the home), the remainder to wireless and satellite networks. The revised rollout of the so-called MTM (multi-technology mix) based on FttN and HFC) only began in earnest in 2016. The NBN company has now fine-tuned its rollout strategy and is set to extend the network by 40,000 premises a week; but from here on FttH will play only a minor role, mainly in greenfield installations.

After the Coalition government won the 2016 federal election any debate about changes to the underlying infrastructure faded away, as the rollout of the MTM is now too far advanced. However the NBN company has indicated that it does have a roadmap towards providing fibre deeper into the residential network. Fttdp (fibre to the distribution point) is one of the key technologies they are investigating.

Around the same time the industry started to seriously question the regulatory environment around the NBN. The smaller players are in danger of being squeezed out of the market through complex and expensive NBN wholesale offerings. These same arrangements also mean that the end-users are not receiving the benefits of high-speed broadband in an affordable form. The ACCC reacted to this by launching a fresh competition study, the results of which will become available in 2017.

As a result of unattractive wholesale arrangements and a second-rate NBN several telcos are eager to skip the MTM-based infrastructure and deploy their own fibre networks. In this way competition is arriving in multi-dwelling units (MDUs) in various cities, this despite the fact that competition is heavily restricted through government regulations. Advances in wireless technology – especially in comparison with what a second-rate NBN can deliver – has seen an explosion in new players entering this market. Furthermore future developments in mobile technologies (LTE and 5G) will lead to more competition with the NBN, as more and more users will opt for better and more affordable high-speed broadband services through these alternative services.

All of these developments are putting a cloud over the financial future of the NBN company. Government funding runs out in 2017, and with another $20 billion likely to be needed to finish the job it is questionable whether private investors will be interested in funding this shortfall.

Apart from another two-year delay in the roll-out of the NBN – due to the political changes to the NBN since 2013 and a more than doubling of the costs – significant uncertainties still remain about some of the technical and operational issues of the MTM. There are a great number of unknowns in this process and overseas FttN (fibre to the node) experience shows that it is not all plain sailing. In many cases large-scale replacement of old copper infrastructure will be required. At the same time rolling out fibre has become significantly cheaper, especially when done by new companies, as is the case in the USA, France, the Netherlands and a number of other players in Northern and Eastern Europe. Most countries now skip their FttN and HFC rollouts and go straight into FttH.

While in mid-2015 the government revived some of the digital economy strategies that were put in place between 2009 and 2013, there is still no holistic approach to services such as e-health and e-education. Interestingly we see cities developing their own strategies around the concept of smart cities. When the government announced its innovation policy it did not even mention the important role the NBN can play in that context. Cities, however, do understand the importance of such infrastructure for their economic and social developments.

These broader developments in the digital, sharing and interconnected economy will be further accelerated by a range of other industry sectors such as cloud computing, M2M and big data. The over-the-top (OTT) players are also becoming increasingly prominent in the telecoms industry and this will start to blur some of the borders between infrastructure, IT and applications.

The NBN will have to become the predominant national digital infrastructure for all of these developments, as a utilities-based network it will also need to provide its services to those other sectors. With these sectors involved we will see the industry developing specific new business models around infrastructure, ICT and retail. Streaming video and other media and entertainment applications are already playing an important role in the drive for high-speed broadband demand. The question here is whether the current MTM configuration of the NBN will be able to deliver the capacity, reliability, redundancy and security for such services in a ubiquitous way to all Australians. Most experts agree that only a full-fibre network can deliver that level of infrastructure robustness.

The report covers detailed information on the rollout of FttH, FttB, FttN, Fttdp, HFC, wireless and satellite infrastructure, as well as statistics on subscribers, revenues and a range of other parameters. It also provides a range of analyses and insights, plus an overview of the policies and regulations that apply to the NBN and the effect that these have on competition in the telecommunications wholesale and retail markets.

Table Of Contents

Australia - The National Broadband Network - Moving into 2017
1. Key developments and analyses
1.1 The NBN in mid-2016
1.2 Can we please have a rethink of the NBN
1.3 NBN critical for a modern economy and society
1.4 Beyond the good and evil of the NBN
1.5 Telstra - the ongoing winner in the NBN changes
1.6 Climate change how reliable are our telecoms networks?
1.7 Should taxpayers pay for a NBN based on MTM?
1.8 Has Malcolm Turnbull lost his opportunity for change?
1.9 How to save the NBN
1.10 No mentioning of the NBN in the context of the Digital Economy
1.11 My Republic on the NBN
1.12 NBN critical in developing Australia's first smart cities
1.13 Broadband services in rural Australia worse than was thought
1.14 Content the next regulatory war zone
2. Statistical overview, surveys and forecasts
2.1 The NBN wholesale market ACCC report May 2016
2.2 Market Surveys
2.2.1 Customers aren't buying fast broadband because that is not what they are being sold
2.2.2 Economic Benefit of the National Broadband Network
2.2.3 NBN support still strong
2.2.4 Towards a Connected Australia - NBN Co Report 2015
2.2.5 Deloitte's Media Consumer Survey - 2014
2.2.6 Privatisation of NBN is not popular
2.2.7 FTTN modelling results
2.2.8 NBN speeds over 25Mb/s
2.2.9 Broadband benefits for households
2.2.10 Support for fast broadband via an NBN
2.2.11 Customers prepared to pay for higher speeds
2.2.12 NBN key to the creation of 3 million jobs by 2030
2.3 The Digital Economy - Trans-Sector Market
2.3.1 Forecasts 2015; 2020
2.4 Business Market Survey
2.4.1 NBN Business Readiness Survey
2.4.2 NBN impact on industry output by 2020
2.4.3 Summary of survey findings
2.5 Analyses
2.5.1 The NBN it should all be about capacity
2.5.2 Australia's high international broadband costs
3. FttH, FttB developments and roll outs
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Statistical overviews
3.3 FttH in NBN's FY 2016 Results
3.3.1 FttH statistical overview 2014-2018
3.3.2 Migration of business services
3.4 Fibre-to-the-Basement (FttB)
3.4.1 Multi dwelling units
3.4.2 NBN fibre basements rollout started in late 2014
3.4.3 TPG
3.4.4 Telstra tests FTTB product
3.5 Other developments
3.5.1 NBN Co outlines policies for fibre-on-demand
3.5.2 Cost of a NBN brownfields FTTH connection
3.6 Analyses
3.6.1 FttH business model is gaining strength
3.6.2 Simplification of FttH
3.6.3 FttH cheaper than upgrading the HFC networks
3.6.4 Why Australia needs a Fibre-to-the-Premises policy
3.6.5 Market-led demand for FttH is picking up
3.7 Original rollout
4. FttN and VSDL developments and roll outs
4.1 Statistical overviews
4.1.1 FttN in NBN's FY Results 2016
4.1.2 FttN vs FttH take-up
4.1.3 Analysis - High-speed broadband take-up is increasing
4.1.4 FttN overview 2014-2018
4.2 Telstra aims at 1 million NBN market share
4.3 G.Fast
4.3.1 Introduction
4.3.2 Analysis - NBN's not.so.Fast' G.Fast
4.4 The VDSL Market
4.4.1 VDSL developments
4.4.2 VDSL vectoring
4.5 VDSL infrastructure analysis
4.5.1 FTTN modelling results
4.5.2 The aesthetics of the cabinets
4.5.3 Reliability and performance of the cabinets
4.5.4 Issues in relation to savings coming from sharing infrastructure
4.5.5 The risk of short-circuiting
4.6 Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point (FTTDP)
4.6.1 Remains on the agenda of NBN
4.6.2 Analysis of FTTdp
4.6.3 NBN company needs support to pursue FTTdp
4.7 Strategic Analysis
4.7.1 Video explosion pushing fixed broadband
4.7.2 Computer transactions, not people, are driving the need for all-fibre networks
4.7.3 NBN telecoms or digital infrastructure a SAU question
5. THe HFC Network
5.1 Technology
5.1.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC)
5.1.2 The DOCSIS standard
5.1.3 The next development for DOCSIS
5.1.4 Can Cable Networks Deliver a Gigabit?
5.1.5 NBN Indicates Upgrade path for HFC
5.1.6 HFC DOCSIS vs. fibre
5.2 NBN - HFC Program
5.2.1 Statistical overview
5.2.2 Overall plan
5.2.3 FttN and FTTB as infills for HFC
5.2.4 Arris appointed supplier of the network
5.2.5 Roll out plan
5.2.6 HFC pilot in Queensland
5.3 Market statistics and estimates
5.4 Telstra
5.4.1 Background information
5.4.2 Network upgrades
5.5 Optus
5.5.1 Overview
5.6 IiNet/TransACT
5.7 BES/e-wire
5.8 hfc NETWORK dARWIN
5.9 Industry analysis
5.9.1 DOCSIS3.0 -v- DOCSIS 3.1
5.9.2 Do we need infrastructure-based competition?
5.9.3 Moving on from the HFC of the past
5.9.4 HFC incorporated in multi-technology NBN
5.9.5 From HFC to Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
5.9.6 Open access policy
5.9.7 Superfast Broadband Access Service (SBAS)
6. Fixed Wireless and Satellite Networks
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Statistical overview
6.2.1 Roll out statistics mid 2016
6.2.2 Statistical overview 2014-2018
6.3 NBN Co's Fixed Wireless Network
6.3.1 Services based on 2.3GHz spectrum
6.3.2 Construction plan
6.3.3 Visionstream to construct the network
6.3.4 Hills to do the home installations
6.3.5 Colocation and tower sharing
6.3.6 NBN facilitates wireless competition - Analysis
6.3.7 Fixed wireless rollouts
6.3.8 Other developments
6.4 The NBN Satellite Network
6.4.1 Launch of the satellites
6.4.2 The name of the service: Sky Muster
6.4.3 Ka-band satellites
6.4.4 Faster speeds with restrictions
6.4.5 doubling of data allowances with 2nd satellite
6.4.6 SkyMesh first with satellite retail pricing
6.4.7 Education and community applications
6.4.8 Interim satellite services (ISS)
6.4.9 Contracts
6.4.10 Analysis - Satellite and wireless uptake greater than expected
6.5 Why Wireless Broadband is no alternative to FttH - Analysis
6.5.1 Problems in metro fringe areas
6.6 NBN Fixed Wireless Broadband: A Global Comparison
7. Wholesale and competitive access
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Analysis of the wholesale market
7.3 Wholesale reforms
7.3.1 Introduction of regulatory instruments
7.3.2 Regulatory instruments analysis
7.3.3 Final access determinations for fixed line telecommunications
7.3.4 Layer 2 bitstream on non-NBN Co networks
7.3.5 Difference between peering and interconnection
7.3.6 The thriving wholesale aggregation market
7.4 Analyses
7.4.1 Flawed NBN structure undermines competition
7.4.2 Telstra dominance set to remain
7.4.3 NBN retail competition at lower margins
7.4.4 Government is forcing the telco industry to fight Telstra dominance
7.4.5 Government regulations should not stop Australia from getting better broadband
7.4.6 Open up the metropolitan NBN market to competition
7.4.7 Competition in the telecoms industry is dwindling
7.5 Case study - TPG highlights the fragile NBN environment
7.5.1 TPG exposes weaknesses in NBN retail models
7.5.2 Market-led vs. Government intervention
7.5.3 You cannot unravel the NBN
7.5.4 The fragility of the wholesale-only model
7.5.5 NBN is a finely balanced exercise
7.6 Wholesale Product Overview
7.6.1 NBN for business
7.6.2 1Gbps wholesale service
7.6.3 The FttN service
7.6.4 Access seekers gateways
7.7 NBN Co's multicast service
7.7.1 Overview of the service
7.7.2 Wholesale Pricing
7.7.3 The effect of streaming video on the NBN
7.7.4 iiNet
7.7.5 4K TV
7.8 Pricing Strategies
7.8.1 Wholesale Broadband Agreement
7.8.2 NBN Co special access undertaking (SAU)
7.8.3 Wholesale prices
7.9 NBN Utility Management service The Retail Clause
7.10 The NBN CVC and PoI debate
7.10.1 Wholesale dominance
7.10.2 Backhaul competition
7.10.3 The business opportunities of the POIs
7.10.4 Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC)
8. Policies and regulations
8.1 ACCC competition study
8.2 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review Report
8.3 Telstra NBN Co deal 2.0
8.3.1 NBN this is as good as it gets (Analysis)
8.4 Infrastructure competition or Infrastructure utility
8.4.1 Do we need infrastructure-based competition?
8.4.2 Forty years too late
8.4.3 Who is going to invest in competing fixed infrastructure?
8.4.4 So what are the competition models from those promoting it?
8.4.5 Competition policy should be focused on the services, not the infrastructure
8.5 NBN regulatory reform latest Developments
8.5.1 Facilitating smaller ISPs
8.5.2 Repositioning of the NBN and NBN Co
8.5.3 Changes to be implemented before the end of 2016
8.5.4 Changes beyond 2016
8.5.5 Carrier Licence Conditions (Networks supplying Superfast Carriage Services to Residential Customers) Declaration 2014
8.5.6 NBN levy to support remote telecoms
8.5.7 ACCC approved NBN's MtM version
8.5.8 Migration Procedures
8.6 Original Regulatory Framework
8.6.1 Introduction
8.6.2 Bills passed House of Reps
8.6.3 Key elements of the Companies Bill
8.6.4 Key elements of the Access Bill
8.6.5 The key points of the NBN amendments
8.7 Special Access Undertakings
8.7.1 The NBN Co Review
8.7.2 Analyses - telecoms or digital infrastructure a SAU question
8.8 Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC)
8.8.1 CVC discounts
8.9 Regulatory reforms for the transition period
8.9.1 Introduction of regulatory instruments
8.9.2 Regulatory instruments - analysis
8.9.3 Final Access Determinations for fixed line telecommunications
8.9.4 Layer 2 bitstream on non-NBN Co networks
8.9.5 Telstra needs to tighten up its migration plan
8.10 Government to fund NBN voice migration
8.11 Budget funding for the National Broadband Network
8.11.1 Administrative and regulatory support
8.11.2 Funding planned until 2016
8.11.3 Funding for The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)
8.11.4 Funding for the ACCC and ACMA
8.12 Telstra Structural Separation Undertaking
8.12.1 Telstra's initial undertaking
8.12.2 Migration Plan
8.12.3 The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) involvement in the NBN
8.12.4 Telstra's Structural Separation Undertaking
8.12.5 Breaches of structural separation undertakings
8.12.6 Universal service reform legislation for the NBN
8.13 Sale of NBN Co
8.14 Special access for smart utility services
9. The NBN Company
9.1 Highlights Full Year Results 2016
9.1.1 Statistical Overview
9.1.2 Analysis
9.2 NBN Corporate Plan for the period 2014 2018
9.3 Highlights annual report 2014/2015
9.4 The network plan
9.4.1 Overall design and architecture
9.4.2 User access to the network
9.4.3 The backhaul network
9.4.4 ACCC location of 121 POIs
9.4.5 Points-of-interconnect (POI) architecture
9.4.6 PoI network redundancy
9.4.7 Paid for Network Extension
9.4.8 IPv6 transition
9.5 Three year construction plan 2015-2018
9.6 Other developments
9.6.1 NBN top-up 2016/17
9.6.2 Progress towards the Multi-Technology Mix
9.6.3 NBN Co buys TransACT
9.6.4 Mobile Backhaul
9.7 Telstra upgrades pit and pipe infrastructure
9.8 NBN Infrastructure Co-Development Program
9.9 NBN Co 2009- 2013 (Historic)
9.10 Analyses
9.10.1 Building Australia's white elephant cheap buy for white knight Telstra
9.10.2 Current NBN business model is flawed
9.10.3 How independent is NBN Co?
9.10.4 NBN Co threat to proper broadband competition
9.10.5 NBN Co should open up its networks to others
10. Infrastructure plans and contracts
10.1 Recent developments
10.1.1 NBN bid to double installer numbers
10.1.2 NBN issues MTM FttN contracts
10.1.3 NBN Co reviewed contracts
10.2 NBN Major Contracts 2014 - 2016
10.2.1 Introduction
10.2.2 Telstra wins $1.6 billion HFC deal
10.2.3 SC Services Fixed Wireless services
10.2.4 Fixed-line partnerships with Telstra, Optus, Service Stream and BSA
10.2.5 Second round of construction deals
10.2.6 Five year contract for Service Stream
10.2.7 Telstra receives planning and design contract
10.2.8 Tata and Kordia win subsequent NBN design deals
10.2.9 Coriant - Optical transport network
10.2.10 HFC and maintenance contract for Telstra
10.3 NBN Co contracts 2009-2013 period
10.3.1 Introduction
10.3.2 Satellite operation outsourced to Ericsson
10.3.3 Universal Communications Group Multi Dwelling Units contract
10.3.4 Daly International deploys MDU broadband
10.3.5 Skybridge
10.3.6 Defect-management solution from Geomatic Technologies
10.3.7 Transit Network
10.3.8 End-user equipment
10.3.9 Network facilities Centres
10.3.10 Via Sat to supply satellite ground equipment
10.3.11 Contracts with Transfield and Service Stream
10.3.12 Geraldton new fibre rollout contract with WBHO
10.3.13 Construction agreements for SA and NT
10.3.14 Constructions agreements for NSW and Victoria
10.3.15 Melbourne, Brisbane and regional NSW constructions
10.3.16 UCG moving into single dwelling units
10.3.17 Second contract for South Australia
10.3.18 Fibre-optic contracts
10.3.19 Ericsson to build fixed wireless network
10.3.20 Network Operations Centre for NBN
10.3.21 Contractors for first-build sites
10.3.22 Nokia Siemens Networks selected for DWDM
10.3.23 Data Centres
10.3.24 IBM selected as systems integrator
10.3.25 Site Management
10.3.26 Internal IT systems
10.3.27 Network maintenance, installation and activation contract
10.3.28 NBN satellite ground station contracts
10.4 Australia bucking the global trend by increasing copper
Table 1 Homes connected to fibre 2005 - 2010
Table 2 - Count of TC-4 AVCs* by metropolitan/regional designation (Subscribers)
Table 3 Support for NBN
Table 4 Benefits of broadband for individual households a national framework
Table 5 Scenarios summary of benefits in 2020
Table 6 Impacts of the NBN on industry output at 2020 (% change)
Table 7 NBN revenue statistics FttH FY 2013-2016
Table 8 FttH subscriber statistics FY 2013-2016
Table 9 Annual FttH capital expenditure FY 2013-2016
Table 10 FttH Cost per premise FY 2014-2016
Table 11 FttH Greenfields rollouts 2014 - 2016
Table 12 FttH Premises Ready for Service 2014-2018
Table 13 FttH Premises Activated 2014 - 2018
Table 14 FttH Weighted average cost per premise by technology (rounded to the nearest 100)
Table 15 FttN expenditure 2014-2016
Table 16 NBN uptake rates FttH and FttN
Table 17 FttN Roll Out 2014-2018 (cumulative (000)
Table 18 FttN - Weighted average cost per premise by technology (rounded nearest $100)
Table 19 Capex and Opex savings for different network sharing deployment models
Table 20 HFC Roll out 2016-2018
Table 21 - Weighted average cost per HFC premise (rounded nearest $100)
Table 22 NBN capital expenditure FY2015-2016
Table 23 HFC cable broadband subscribers 2012 - 2017
Table 24 Cable broadband subscribers by major operator and annual change 2002 - 2015
Table 25 Cable subscribers versus other broadband technologies 2009 - 2015
Table 26 Optus financial data 2011 - 2016
Table 27 Optus financial data by sector 2009 - 2016
Table 28 Optus on-net broadband subscribers 2009 - 2016
Table 29 FttH Wireless Rollouts FY 2014 - 2016
Table 30 NBN ARPU Fixed wireless FY 2014-2016
Table 31 NBN Capital expenditure fixed wireless FY 2013-2016
Table 32 NBN Cost per premises fixed wireless FY 2014-2016
Table 33 - Premises Ready for Wireless Services 2014 - 2018
Table 34 Wireless Premises Activated 2014 2018 (cumulative (000)
Table 35 - Weighted average cost per premise
Table 36 Satellite Rollouts 2014 - 2016
Table 37 The wholesale market in Australia - key players - 2015
Table 38 NBN pricing schedule for access virtual circuits
Table 39 NBN pricing schedule for PoI connections
Table 40 NBN budgeted and actual expenditure 2008 - 2015
Table 41 NBN Revenue Statistics 2013-2016
Table 42 NBN ARPU 2013-2016
Table 43 End user subscriptions 2013-2016
Table 44 NBN take-up rate activated services vs serviceable premises 2013-2016
Table 45 NBN Capital Expenditure 2013-2016
Table 46 Cost per premises 2014-2016
Table 47 Property, Plan, Equipment and Intangible Assets
Table 48 FY 2017 Targets
Table 49 Key highlights in FY2016
Table 50 - Premises Ready for Service 2014-2018
Table 51 - Premises Activated 2014 - 2018
Table 52 - Technology mix 2020
Table 53 - Weighted average cost per premise by technology
Table 54 - Key financial statistics NBN company
Table 55 NBN 2018 target by state Estimated number of premises under construction by September 2018
Table 56 Key highlights in FY2015
Table 57 - List of points of interconnection to the National Broadband Network - November 2012
Chart 1 Market share size of NBN trans-sector market 2020
Chart 2 NBN services revenue share estimates by market share 2015
Chart 3 NBN services revenue share estimates by market share 2020
Chart 4 Overview of cable broadband subscribers by operator and annual change 2002 - 2015
Chart 5 Overview of cable subscribers versus other broadband technologies 2009 2015
Chart 6 Optus financial data 2011 2016
Exhibit 1 Can grid power keep the internet alive?
Exhibit 2 Summary of scenarios considered in this report
Exhibit 3 - The difference between FttH and FttP
Exhibit 4 - Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL)
Exhibit 5 - IP Channel Bonding
Exhibit 6 - Ultra-HDTV 4K standard' for satellite TV
Exhibit 7 Updated financial arrangements
Exhibit 8 - Key elements of Telstras SSU
Exhibit 9 - Privatisation of NBN is not popular
Exhibit 10 - IT Platform and capabilities
Exhibit 11 - Demo centre and demo truck

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