Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Saturday, 24 October 2015 00:42

Well yes, buying copper is part of the NBN issue Featured

Well yes, buying copper is part of the NBN issue

There are some voices honking their horns saying that nbn spending $14 million to buy 1800km of copper cable for a small part of the FttN network is no big deal. Such voices should be ignored as their logic is flawed.

You see, this copper will be used to connect the 5100 or so FttN cabinets to the roadside pillars that contain the Telstra copper pairs that connect to homes. And of course the copper from the pillars that connect to homes is in excellent condition. We know this how? Why because nbn CEO Bill Morrow told us so!

So now in our brave new FttN world we have two sets of copper cable to maintain – thousands of kilometres of copper cable that connect from cabinets to pillars and many more thousands of kilometres of twisted pair copper cables connecting from pillars to homes.

But this is fine, some say, because as we all know Australia is geographically large and we have to accept that we simply need to buy huge loads of copper to cover our big fat wide land.

However, as we know all too well, copper ages and erodes and it needs to be replaced regularly. It really is quite expensive to maintain over time. And if anyone really believes that the ageing telephone landline copper network is in the excellent condition that Bill Morrow claims to be so delighted with, then perhaps they need to take a reality check.

Thus, spending hundreds of millions on new copper to connect to old copper, both of which will have to be maintained and replaced on a regular basis, is indeed a relevant issue.

As has been pointed out in many journals — here’s one — while fibre cable to the premise is more expensive than copper cable in the short run, it is less expensive, costs less to maintain and has less downtime in the long run. What’s more the cost of fibre and its installation continues to go down.

Was a ubiquitous FttP network going to be built? Despite the naysayers, yes it was already underway and, when the NBN is finished, even under the current MTM plan 20% of the NBN will be FttP.

Will the FttN network be rolled out faster than the FttP would have been? Yes, but nowhere as faster as we were led to believe.

Will the MTM network, including the FttN component, cost less than a ubiquitous FttP network to build? Over the short term yes, but over the long term no because of the maintenance costs associated with FttN copper.

So once again, horn honkers, yes transparency and performance of the NBN are important, but so is the costly investment being made in yet more copper for more than 40% of Australia’s National Broadband Network.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here


The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.



iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.


Stan Beer

Stan Beer assists with Digital Advertising installation and monitoring of advert performance. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications. Any previous news story submissions should be director to and advertising enquires to

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News