Opal Ticket Barriers

Frequent travellers penalised under proposed Opal fare changes

Commuters travelling more than 10 journeys per week will pay on average $255 more per year.

In a classic pre-Christmas news dump, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its draft report into the review of public transport fares in Sydney and surrounds.

The review’s aims were clear — to remove the penalty commuters currently endure when switching between different modes of transport.  In doing so, the revenue will decline and to plug this revenue hole — a raft of changes about fare caps and rewards have been introduced.

After reading the “thrilling” 106 page report, what becomes immediately apparent after reading the report is that it’s not easy for your average Joe to compare fares and see how it may affect them.

So, knowing me, you’d probably guess that I’d build some fandangled app to do it… and I did: opalcompared.com.

The rest of this blog post will be split into two main sections, for different audiences:

  • a findings (based on some 12 thousand calculations done by visitors) section
  • a technology section (on how the app was built)

Findings

During the short time since the launch of Opal Compared, it had accumulated over 12,000 weekly journey calculations.  Through this, a few interesting trends had started to emerge:

(A small note: the statistics are based on a snapshot of around 12,000 Adult Opal fare calculations made on Opal Compared up till about 27th December 2015)

Travellers with over 10 journeys per week will have the highest fare increase

Probably summed up perfectly in this chart below, the more journeys you take on a weekly basis — the higher the average fare increase.  The less journeys you take, the more you save.


Source: Opal Compared (opalcompared.com)

The point where the average crosses over is at exactly the 10 journey mark.  Commuters who travel more than 10 journeys per week will on average pay $4.90 more per week (or $254.80 per year — if you budget on an annual basis).  Those who travel less will likely pocket a healthy discount of $3.49 per week on average.

This baffles me.  The proposed Opal fares seem counter-intuitive since the proposed fare changes will disincentivise people from using public transport.

It simply doesn’t make sense to reward those commuters who contribute the least to revenue.  Shouldn’t IPART be looking on setting fare structures that reward those commuters who travel the most, encouraging more people to use more public transport thus increasing revenue?

(more…)

nbn™ logo (large)

NBN looking for FTTdp vendors

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, is seeking for an expression of interest from manufacturers of “Distribution Point Units” used to power a Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) network.

FTTdp is similar to the Fibre to the Node technology preferred by the current Government.  It enables faster speeds by bringing the fibre closer to the end user’s premises (often described as “fibre to the curb”).

In its request (found online on its tenders website), the company outlines the key requirements of interfacing with nbn‘s existing GPON solution as well as being able to power the unit from the premises it services.

  • Is designed to be typically deployed at a deeper delivery point in the nbn™ network, than can be otherwise achieved through current nbn™ xDSL technologies
  • Delivers nbn™ services into the premises over a pair in the existing copper lead-in cable via an xDSL interface
  • Is powered from the premises over the same copper pair used to carry service into the premises
  • Connects back towards the Point of Interconnect (POI) via nbn’s existing FTTP GPON solution

nbn expects to use Fibre to the Distribution Point (FTTdp) technology to service areas with longer copper loop lengths where Fibre to the Node cannot ordinarily deliver minimum download speeds of 25 Mbps.

Expression of interest closes on the 22 January 2016.

NBN technician splicing fibre in a van

NBN releases supply agreements for Fibre TV

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released a new supply agreement which enables TV services to be delivered over the NBN fibre network in selected new developments.

As reported on jxeeno blog in October, the company began consulting the industry for the potential of such a service.  The agreement released today is intended for content providers who will overlay its own radio signals over the existing NBN fibre network.

The introduction of this service is seen as a competitive response to the government’s Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) policy which encourages greater infrastructure competition in new developments. Other fibre providers have long provided a similar TV service over fibre including the TransACT network which nbn acquired in 2013.

The product, provided for free to willing service providers, will allow TV radio signals to be delivered over the fibre network using a technology known as Radio Frequency on Glass (RFoG).  Providers must at least provide a TV channels ordinarily available on free-to-air in that area, and may additionally provide its own content or contents from other providers.

New developments with Fibre TV enabled will have a separate RF converter which transforms the signals delivered over fibre to TV signals.