NBN Co Revises 400-Page Plan, Details Enormous Costs of Maintaining Copper Networks

On the 30th of November, the NBN Co filed a revised 400-page special access undertaking (SAU) which explains the enormous costs of fixing and maintaining copper-based networks compared to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). There is also an entire chapter devoted to “the rationale behind investing in fibre”.

In short, the document provides a persuasive case for why it is essential to invest in fibre now in order to avoid even more significant costs down the road. The report makes it clear that FTTP is not only more future-proof but also more cost-effective overall.

The Case for Fibre Investment 

Here are some key points from the document that justifies their argument to invest and upgrade the copper-based network to fibre:

  • FTTP Will Continue to Be More Cost Effective Than Copper: The total cost of ownership for FTTP is lower than that of any other network technology over time. This is because FTTP has much lower ongoing operational costs and higher capacity than any other network (including copper).
  • Fixing and maintaining Copper Networks Is Expensive: NBN Co estimated it would cost over $5 billion just to fix the existing copper network nationwide. The estimate does not include the additional costs of running and maintaining a copper network moving forward.
  • Copper Prices are volatile: The price of copper can fluctuate significantly, which means that the NBN Co’s estimates for the cost of maintaining a copper network may be inaccurate. By contrast, fibre prices are stable and predictable.
  • Fibre Revolutionises Business Models and Saves on Support Costs: Fibre broadband offers the speeds and reliability that businesses need to stay competitive. In addition, businesses will save on support costs because there will be no need for multiple broadband connections or legacy phone lines when everyone is on fibre.

The report provides a clear and compelling case for why investing in fibre now is essential for Australia’s future competitiveness. It is abundantly clear that FTTP is not only more future-proof but also more cost-effective than continuing to maintain our existing copper network. With business models changing and support costs escalating, now is the time to make the switch to fibre broadband.