The New NBN. What’s the brief?

When Malcolm Turnbull spoke at this week’s CommsDay Congress (via video) in Melbourne this week he said how NBNCo was now charged with looking at alternate ways of delivering universal fast broadband. It’s likely the outcome will see a reduction in the top speed capability of large parts of the network. Fair enough, do we need so much speed?

The change in plan is obviously upsetting to Labor MP Ed Husic who is totally sold on the vision of fibre all the way. He’s not alone. eIntellego Networks CEO Skeeve Stevens spoke at the summit about private networks as the new killer app, saying they really cannot be delivered across a FTTN network.

This week’s CrossTalk asks how we determine the best solution? Cheaper or faster? It all depends on what you see as the economic benefits of speed. Sadly, as Ovum Asia Pacific research director David Kennedy points out, there isn’t any research pointing to the incremental economic benefits of speeds beyond 25Mbps.

So, perhaps there needs to be some assumptions made about future demand and a roadmap built accordingly. As Alcatel Lucent APAC Strategy Director Ric Clark points out, five years ago we hadn’t even contemplated the idea of Tablet devices and BYOD. How has that impacted demand? It’s certainly driven greater mobility.

Could Juniper Networks Solution Chief Architect Richard Bayliss be right when he claims a lot of future innovation will come from within the home – he calls it the Rise of the Micro Multinationals?

Or perhaps we need to focus more on business. Innes Willox, CEO of the Australian Industry Group, wants to see the NBN focusing on delivering to business first.

So, with so many variables, ideas and unknowns, as NBNCo hits the reset button, isn’t it time to ask what exactly is the scope of the NBN? If the board is working on finding a new way, what’s the brief?

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