Saturday, April 18, 2009

So how are they going to lay down all this fibre?


Won't they have to dig up everywhere?

And won't the cost be GINORMOUS?

I reckon it won't.

Here are 3 reasons why: (you might find the third unsavory if you are uncomfortable around toilets)

1. Virtually every time Telstra has dug up a street in recent years it has laid down fibre alongside copper wires. It costs next-to-nothing, and it is there just in case. The streets of Mount Gambier and Orange are apparently full of it.

It is known as "dark fibre" because it isn't yet lit. It is waiting for a purpose.

If Telstra does take part in the government-led Fibre-To-Premises consortium, it will tip in this valuable but otherwise useless pre-existing fibre in return for equity. It will get money for nothing (equity actually).

2. Getting fibre to houses and businesses in actually pretty easy, where there are power poles...


In the ACT the electricity authority part-owns Transact which hangs fibre cables off the electricity poles and then slings wires into houses. It doesn't use the Telstra wires. As I wrote once, the Telstra sockets remain intact, unloved and unused on skirting boards througout Canberra.


What goes in to each house is actually new copper wire, from junction boxes such as this one I photographed this morning, but the cost would be the same for stringin in a fibre - not that much. The total cost of the Transact service is reasonable Indeed, phone calls from Transact  to Transact customers (that bypass Telstra) are free.


3. But in places such as Gungahlin in the ACT and Elizabeth, north of Adealaide the electrical wiring is underground - because those new cities  were "modern" and underground wiring was thought then to be modern.  There are no poles from which to sling wires. Getting any new service into the houses is difficult. So what to do?

Use the sewerage pipes. I mean it. Have the fibre coming into each toilet bowl.  Japan and the US are already doing it. There is plenty of room within each sewage pipe, and every home already has the sewer connected. The fibre swims in the sewage and a tiny robot clears the pipes to give it lots of room - an added bonus.  It is much cheaper than digging new trenches.

Speed-of-light communication to most Australian businesses and houses could be easier and cheaper than many people believe.

7 comments:

badm0f0 said...

There is plenty of dark fibre not owned by Telstra also. Independent operators, government owned authorities such as VicTrack and utilities companies have also invested significantly in laying down fibre. The cost of setting up the broader network is probably going to be minimal; as you have observed fibre for equity will account for most of this rollout. The capex of bringing it to the home is still going to be significant though.

What's often overlooked by both critics and proponents is the ongoing operational cost advantages, especially in power consumption & maintenance. There are studies easily discoverable via Google which show FTTH has significant advantages over copper and HFC in these areas. One US paper I read stated that some FTTH network designs used 20 times less power than HFC networks - such as that which Telstra was proposing to upgrade to 100mbit/s. Other studies have cited figures for FTTH of 10 - 15x less power consumption. European operators who run FTTH networks have experienced 1/5 the number of service faults that they have for copper based networks. These lowered costs add up over the lifetime of a network.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd go for one of those NextG wireless packages. Personal computers are trending towards cheap and portable, not expensive and fixed. In 8 years time, we might well be working with folding fabric displays, mobile phones, and collapsible keyboards. Desktop computers (with home routers and fiber connections) might not be the future, except in offices (which already have good connections).

Anonymous said...

On the other hand we might not. In the world of I.T. as anyone who has been part of it for a long time knows, some changes happen at ferocious investment killing pace, and others which are "just around the corner" take decades to materialise, if at all. The obituary of the desktop machine has been written numerous times.

Anonymous said...

Peter

Another place for the fibre is gas pipelines.

Lots of gas pipelines in Victoria so good option for this state.

Nick

Wil said...

Anon #1, wireless apparently cannot possibly do what fibre will be able to do in the future, and this is a matter of the laws of physics. But I am not an expert.

The problem with sewerage pipes is that the way to clean them when they get blocked is via rough mechanical means, at least with my plumber. We need our pipe cleaned about every two years (costs $150 as opposed to $2000 to get it fixed for all time), and he puts this flexible metal tube down and rotates it at speed. That would presumable bash any fibre to bits.

Of course, I'm on optus fibre and have ripped off all my copper a while ago.

Anonymous said...

Living in Reynella for 20+ years, telstra proposed to "hang" fibre optic cables from our local power poles. Some residents (like my next door neighbour) caused a hell of a stink with local councils, ETSA,& state government over the look of black cables in front of teir houses and threatend legal action. Now they complain about not having Broadband. Its going to be interesting to see what happens this time round.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Personally, I'd go for one of those NextG wireless packages. Personal computers are trending towards cheap and portable, not expensive and fixed. In 8 years time, we might well be working with folding fabric displays, mobile phones, and collapsible keyboards. Desktop computers (with home routers and fiber connections) might not be the future, except in offices (which already have good connections).

"

OC the thing your forgeting is you can have both, the wireless kit today and tomorrow are far more effective if they have a faster backhaul than they can go.

getting down to basics here:the one thing thats needed is a generic universal world quick connect fibre fitting that you can simply have fitted to all fibre coming out the factories in whatever lengths are required, much as you would a copper coax or hose pipe extension today...

OC a comsumer WiMax wireless router would ba a very good thing too but instead of or as well as a Docsis2/Docsis3 cable connection, tou could also simply connect in a device at one of these universal fibre connection points on a the wire and your off with another new mobile segment covering the local Mesh.

Mr alas-No-IPv6-No-Multicast.

Post a Comment

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED