fixedwirelesstower_1043

nbn launches Cell Site Access Service

Company does away with CVC, but will charge two pricing levels based on metro or regional classification

The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released an interim agreement for its Cell Site Access Service (CSAS).  As previously reported, this product is designed for mobile service providers to connect its cell towers through the National Broadband Network fibre network.

The agreement includes a price list, indicating nbn’s intention to provide cell towers with blended traffic class product including a traffic class 1 and traffic class 2 access virtual circuit (TC-1/TC-2 AVC).  All access products include a 5 Mbps TC-1 AVC, with varying amounts of TC-2 bandwidth from 50 Mbps to 900 Mbps.

Unlike the residential/business focused product offered by nbn (NEBS), the CSAS price list and product specification bares no mention of the contentious connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) — the charge imposed by nbn to allow traffic to be carried over from the NBN to the provider’s network.

For the first time, nbn has offered differential pricing based on the classification of the point of interconnect.  Access components in metro and outer metro areas will be charged at a lower rate compared with regional areas.

For example, the base product which includes 5 Mbps TC-1 and 50 Mbps TC-2 comes in at $910 in metro and outer-metro areas.  However, the access charge will increase to $1,245 for cell towers connected to regional points of interconnect.

NBN Cell Site Access Service - AVC Pricing Table
NBN Cell Site Access Service – AVC Pricing Table, Source: nbn co ltd

CSAS Network Termination Device

nbn will be providing a specialised network termination device (NTD) for customers of the Cell Site Access Service.  Unlike the standard NTD available for residential connections, the CSAS NTD will only have one User Network Interface (UNI) which is accessible through a copper or optical port.

The customer is expected to produce 3 RU of rack space for the installation of the NBN fibre tray, power supply and NTD.

NBN CSAS NTD Layout, Source: nbn co ltd
NBN CSAS NTD Layout, Source: nbn co ltd

 

You can find the CSAS pricing list and product descriptions on the nbn website.

Updated 23rd September 2016: to include that CVC appears is not mentioned.

Opal Ticket Barriers

New Opal fares: How I shaved $2 from my work commute

Despite not having to switch modes in my regular commute to work, with the introduction of new Opal fares this week, I thought I’d try to take advantage of the new multi-mode rebate to see if I can shave a few dollars off.

Previously, my work commute involved taking a bus from UNSW Kensington to Town Hall direct (typically, the M50). The distance between these two stops is roughly 5 km — which falls into the 3-8km fare band of $3.50. This single bus trip takes around 30 minutes assuming relatively smooth traffic which is rare nowadays thanks to the light rail construction in the Kensington area.

Instead, I thought I’d break up my trip into a lower fare band bus trip plus a new train trip. Choosing my bus routes carefully, I can see that the 370 bus can take me from UNSW to Green Square station in ~2.6km ($2.10 in fare terms). Changing to a train service from Green Square to Town Hall, I’m charged $2.36 off-peak. Subtract the $2 rebate, and I come out on top: $2.46 one way.

A return trip to work each day would save me $2.08:

Original Route Route Mode Fare
UNSW to nr Town Hall Station M50 Bus $3.50
Total $3.50
New multi-mode route Route Mode Fare
UNSW to Green Square Station 370 Bus $2.10
Green Square to Central T2 Train $2.36
Central to Town Hall Station T1 Train
(Multi-mode rebate) ($2.00)
Total $2.46
New Opal Fares + new route = saving $1.04 one way from UNSW to Town Hall
New Opal Fares + new route = saving $1.04 one way from UNSW to Town Hall

Now, the caveats.  Firstly, the 370 bus can be quite unreliable.  If the bus is on-time, the total journey time is basically the same (± 2 mins) albeit with a bit more walking.  However, buses which are 15 minutes late or don’t show up at all are not uncommon.

Secondly, the cheaper fares only apply for off-peak times.  In my case, applying peak-time train fares, the journey is only 2c cheaper.  That’s probably not worth the extra effort walking through Green Square and Central Stations and potentially missing connections.

So there you have it.  Even if you don’t normally switch modes, you might want to explore various multi-mode route options to see if you can save a few bucks or even save a few minutes in your daily commute.  You never know what you might find!

Note: For the purpose of this blog post, I’m assuming adult Opal fares even though I’m eligible for concession fares.  Fares and any savings would be halved when considering concession fares.