nbn™ logo (large)

Why trademarking the NBN will be a bad idea

(opinion) NBN Co Limited, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network (NBN), began trading as simply nbn™ from this morning. This means that simply by changing the letter casing (upper-case to lower-case) you will be referring to different things: nbn™ (the company) and NBN (the network/physical infrastructure).

But notice that ™ sign next to the lower-case nbn™? It’s a trademark symbol, but not a registered trademark. They carry a characteristic circle-R symbol — ®. Presently, NBN is a registered trademark for the following classes:

Class: 16 Adhesives for stationery or household purposes; plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); printer’s type; printing blocks

Class: 25 Clothing; footwear; headgear

But since 2012, the company has been trying to register a trademark for the word “NBN” for a far broader application of the word… but it is still pending to-date.

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Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

NBN Co to conduct 200 end-user FTTN trial

Update 5:03pm: The link to the test agreement was incorrect in the original article. The link has since been updated.

In their second FTTN trial “test agreement” released today, NBN Co reveals that they’ve begun planning for an additional 200-end users to trial and test the Fibre to the Node network. Unlike the FTTN technology pilot which began in the middle of last year at Umina Beach, this trial appears to be user-centric.

iTnews reports that this trial will take place in the Lake Macquarie region.

“iTnews understands the trial will take place in the Lake Macquarie region of NSW.”

Earlier this week at a Senate hearing, Telstra admitted that the earlier FTTN technology pilot run at Umina Beach was to test the FTTN technology and that further trials would be needed to establish the actual experience and speeds that end users can expect at a commercial launch:

“We don’t believe the trial represents real world experience, it was operating over spare copper pairs… In terms of customer experience, we would be of the view there are other trials which we believe may be occurring in the future, that we have to look at.”

Tony Warren

However, based on the test agreement released today, this additional 200 end-user trial will still rely primarily be a “Second Line Pilot” where an unused or new phone line is connected to the end-user premises for the Internet connection. The agreement states that only a “limited number of Single Line Pilot” premises will be nominated by NBN Co, to test the performance of existing phone lines:

“a limited number of Single Line Pilot Premises nominated by NBN Co and agreed to by Test Participant”

It is expected that the FTTN product will be ready for initial product release by the third quarter of this year.

NBN technician splicing fibre in a van

NBN Co culls more areas from rollout map

Following a map update yesterday, NBN Co has removed approximately 58 thousand premises that were previously slated for a Fibre to the Premises rollout from its rollout map.

These premises, spread across 22 Serving Area Modules (SAMs) in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA, were all in the Build Preparation phase where Telstra’s pit and pipe remediation works commences and detailed designs of the SAM being finalised with NBN Co’s construction partners.

The majority of these SAMs are covered by Telstra’s or Optus’ HFC networks, which NBN Co is expected to acquire, upgrade and integrate into the National Broadband Network as part of their so-called “Multi-Technology Mix” rollout strategy. It is expected that most of these areas will now be delayed until the HFC deals are finalised and rollout commences.

However, there are also some areas such as Dubbo (2DBB-06) that are not covered by the HFC networks but were still removed from the map.

Update 15/04/15: According to Daily Liberal, 2DBB-06 was delayed due to an “over ambitious” rollout sequencing by NBN Co.

A full list of SAMs removed, their coverage localities and the approximate number of premises covered by each SAM can be found below. Dave Cooper has also collated and compared the maps of the areas removed. He has tweeted GIFs of the before and after SAMs removed. They can be found below the opinion piece 🙂

SAM ID Localities Approx. # of Premises
2BLK-08 Doonside 2,700
2DBB-06 Dubbo 2,400
2CAM-03 Campsie 2,700
2CAM-04 Campsie, Belfield 2,800
2HOM-05 Strathfield South, Belfield 2,800
2HOM-06 Greenacre 2,600
2LIV-06 Warwick Farm 2,600
2LIV-09 Moorebank 2,600
3FSR-02 West Footscray, Footscray 2,400
3FSR-11 Footscray 2,400
3KEY-06 Keysborough 2,600
3WER-04 Wyndham Vale 2,400
4AAR-04 Sunnybank Hills, Runcorn 2,800
4AAR-05 Karawatha, Runcorn, Stretton, Calamvale 2,800
4APL-05 Carseldine, Bridgeman Downs 2,400
4BDB-04 New Chum, Redbank, Collingwood Park 1,900
4NDG-04 Nundah, Northgate 3,700
4NDG-05 Wavell Heights, Nundah 2,900
4NDG-06 Virginia, Wavell Heights, Northgate 2,900
5MOD-08 Redwood Park, Modbury Heights 2,300
6APP-05 Winthrop 2,600
6SPT-05 Como 2,700
Total 58,000

Opinion: the good, and the bad

(opinion) It’s not the first time that NBN Co has removed areas from the rollout map, and it won’t be the last. But it’s another significant reduction of premises covered by the Fibre network.

The good news is that NBN Co is deciding to make better use of tax payers money in achieving its expectations (as outlined in the Statement of Expectations, which only requires min. 25 mbps, remember!). Once DOCSIS 3.1 is rolled out, the HFC network upgrade will be vastly better than current HFC services and indeed — should be able to deliver speeds comparable to the current FTTP network.

The sad news is that you won’t get fibre (but it’s okay!) and you probably won’t get faster internet for some time yet… at least until the HFC deal is finalised and the upgrades are done.

It is disappointing to see NBN Co add these areas, knowing the HFC deal was ahead, then backtrack and remove these areas silently. No doubt, there will be many disappointed people around Australia that their beloved fibre connections will no longer come to them.

I believe that, as hard as it may be, NBN Co has a role in informing these communities that they were removed from the map for a reason and not to fear. To have them on as “build preparation has commenced”, then suddenly remove them because of a change in policy that was known months in advanced will only cause confusion and angst in the community.

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