NBN Co CEO, Mike Quigley, has given a point by point rebuttal of the Coalition's broadband plan. But he’s added that he can’t back or attack any political party.
Speaking at an AIIA event in Sydney, Quigley went through the limitations of mobile broadband technology, hybrid fibre-coaxial networks and fixed wireless technologies before spruiking the positives of fibre-based networks.
The Coalition’s broadband plan depends heavily on mobile and fixed wireless broadband as well as HFC to provide a 12Mbps peak speed connection to 97 per cent of Australians.
“I wanted to… try and set the record straight on what we are doing in NBN Co and why we’ve made the technology choices we have,” he said. “I’m a big mobile fan, it’s going to be with us forever… but there are things it’s good for and there are things it’s not good for.
“It’s good for getting stuff downloaded to our iPhones and iPads but if you want to start putting stuff like video up it starts to have a problem.
“LTE has a peak unloaded speed of 150Mbps,” he added. “Obviously, as you move out from the cell centre, the signal strength goes down and the peak speeds go down. As you add more users to the cell, the speed goes down.”
Quigley said that other rival nations, such as Singapore and Japan, faced with a choice between fibre and HFC networks were all picking the former over the latter.
“There’s been a lot of discussions on HFC and the issue is that it has a very limited upstream capacity,” he said. “As applications become more cooperative that it clearly going to become a bottleneck. HFC networks are not inherently designed to be wholesale open access”
When asked about the Coalition’s arguments that a Government body that delivered the housing insulation program could not handle something as complex as the NBN, Quigley argued the company was filled with employees from the corporate sector.
“Inside NBN Co we’re a telco with staff that know this industry really well,” he said. “They’ve come from companies like Optus and Telstra and other operators as well as other around the world – people who’ve been in the industry for a long time.
“Almost every one of them are from the commercial world so we are being very conservative, very realistic about business plans and we would not put our name as a company to a plan that we didn’t believe could be executed on.”