Will the NBN keep up with demand?

No sooner had NBN released its Network Design Rules document than one blogger was questioning whether the 2Gbps uplink capacity per node was enough to cater for peak demand. After all, Cisco is forecasting 29 percent annual growth in peak demand from Australian internet users, and that prediction was made before the arrival of Netflix.

NBN says it’s not a big issue. As explained in this week’s Crosstalk, upgrading requires changing an optical switch, not the costly process of adding more fibre.

So, the NBN probably has a few years life in it, helped by new standards that could see peak speeds delivered across vectored VDSL double over the next few years. Again, without the need to lay more fibre.

But what when we do eventually demand more capacity and speed? Running fibre to the premises could be three times the expense – something that won’t be undertaken whilst the NBN is rushing to pay-off if it’s investment in the original build. Could NBN’s debt slow down our progress and see us lag behind the rest of the world?

This week we talk to:
– Stefaan Vanhastel, Director Product Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent
– Kevin Bloch, Chief Technology Officer at Cisco
– John DeRidder, Telecommunications Economist

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