nbn co and Qantas set to begin a proof-of-concept agreement to test the delivery of a on-board Wi-Fi from February 2017
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released its test agreement with Qantas allowing them to test a “Proof-of-Concept Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service” on a Qantas test aircraft.
The proof-of-concept test is expected to help guide the development of nbn’s Satellite Mobility Product expected to launch in the third quarter of 2017.
Qantas has already begun preliminary engineering testing of its proposed on-board Wi-Fi product on a Boeing 737 aircraft (VH-XZB). The national carrier intends to partner with service provider ViaSat to deliver on-board Internet connectivity once the mobility product becomes available.
The trial product will be delivered over a Layer 3 VPN connection over the NBN Satellite Network. nbn will be responsible for the network between the Air Network Interface (ANI) located on the test aircraft’s Air Terminal and the Mobility Network-Network Interface (M-NNI) located at the NBN Point of Interconnect (POI).
As part of the trial, the network speed will be limited to 20 megabits per second for each aircraft on at most two aircrafts concurrently. The connection will also be limited to agreed flight corridors.
Earlier analysis by jxeeno blog has concluded that on-board Wi-Fi products are likely to have little or no impact on the congestion of beams given the short duration of time each aircraft spends under a single beam.
The proof-of-concept agreement is set to kick in from 1st February 2017 and is expected to run until 1st September 2017 unless terminated early or extended. However, Qantas is yet to officially announce its public launch date for the on-board Wi-Fi service.
No high-speed tiers to accompany launch of higher speed network
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, is set to begin installing new HFC Network Termination Devices (NTDs) at the end of this month to allow them to connect to the upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 network.
nbn’s NTD is a customised CM8200B DOCSIS 3.1 modem from Arris, who successfully won a tender to supply the network equipment.
nbn had initially planned to begin deploying its DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs in December 2016. This has been pushed back by a month to the end of January 2017, with the company issuing an amendment to its Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA2).
In their notification letter to Access Seekers, nbn states that it intends to “introduce the new CM8200B (DOCSIS 3.1) HFC-NTD deploying on all HFC installations from end January 2017”.
No speed increase despite upgrade
Despite touting the speed capabilities of the new DOCSIS 3.1 modems, nbn will not launch new speed tiers to accompany the launch of the new modems.
In November 2015, nbn’s Chief Technology Officer penned a blog post saying that new modems by Arris will be capable of delivering “a stunning 5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream”.
However, the maximum speed tier nbn will offer over the HFC network will remain at 100/40 Mbps. The January 2017 Integrated Deployment Plan also shows no future plans to introduce higher speed tiers already available the NBN Fibre network.
DOCSIS 3.1 promises to provide improved network performance and speeds through increased modulation orders and wider spectrum utilisation.
The new NTD will also have a second Ethernet port, however, the port will be disabled and covered by a sticker at launch.
Service providers may be eligible for a rebate to upgrade existing users to higher speed tiers
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, will introduce a three-month credit scheme designed to promote the uptake of higher speed tiers on its network. The “Step Up AVC Credit” will see service providers refunded up to $33 over 3 months for upgrading existing customers to a higher speed tier.
End users must stay on the new tier for a minimum of 90 days to be eligible for the credit.
Rebates range from $9 to $33 over 3 months:
12/1 Mbps to 25/5 Mbps: $9 over 3 months
12/1 Mbps to 50/20 Mbps: $21 over 3 months
12/1 Mbps to 100/40 Mbps: $33 over 3 months
25/5 Mbps to 50/20 Mbps: $21 over 3 months
25/5 Mbps to 100/40 Mbps: $33 over 3 months
50/20 Mbps to 100/40 Mbps: $21 over 3 months
In an effort to reduce congestion and lower CVC congestion, the credit has strict guidelines about the state of congestion within the network. Any connectivity virtual circuit connected to end users applying for the “Step Up AVC Credit” cannot exceed an average of 95% of network utilisation for 4 consecutive 15 minute intervals in any 24 hour period.
During this campaign, nbn will also co-fund marketing activities associated with the “Step Up AVC Credit” at $1.50 for each eligible AVC.
The scheme will start in November 2016 and finish at the end of March 2017.
But will lock you in for 12 months if the existing copper line isn’t up to scratch
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, will begin offering line remediation to business services unable to reach their committed speeds over the copper network.
Business level services delivered over Traffic Class 2 (TC-2) have a committed information rate (CIR) which effectively guarantees a connection’s transfer rate. Typical residential services are provisioned over Traffic Class 4, which has a peak information rate (PIR) describing the “up to” transfer rate achievable over the line.
The company is already offering TC-2 services over its FTTN and FTTB network with symmetrical transfer speeds of 5, 10 or 20 Mbps. However, according to the current Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA), the company is currently not committing to its Committed Information Rate — stating:
“the actual Information Rate experienced by Customer, Downstream Customer or the relevant End User, may each be significantly less than the downstream CIR and upstream CIR of the bandwidth profile ordered by Customer in respect of the relevant Ordered Product”
According to the revised WBA on its website, the company will enable customers to submit a trouble ticket to remediate the copper line. However, nbn will also require the end user to take up the service for at least 12 months or will have to pay an early disconnection or modification fee.
Increased FTTN performance objectives
nbn is also increasing its network availability operational target on the FTTN Network from 99.70% to 99.80%. The agreement states that “operational targets are non-binding and aspirational”.
The new wholesale broadband agreement will become effective in early December 2016.
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.
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.
HFC installation premium for customers with existing lead-ins amongst changes in latest NBN product roadmap
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has updated its product roadmap for the third quarter of 2016. Here is a summary of some of the key changes:
nbn’s HFC product launched at the end of last month in a limited footprint in Redcliffe region in Queensland (PR044). The company also recently signed a contract with six delivery partners to upgrade and rollout the existing Telstra HFC footprint for nbn’s use.
Self-install to become default
As part of the current rollout strategy, nbn will send an installer to install the HFC Network Termination Device (NTD) at the customer’s premises when a service is ordered. However, the company plans to implement an RSP install and customer install option by the end of first and second quarter of 2017 respectively (PR112, PR129).
Once this process is implemented, nbn will begin charging customers who already have an existing lead-in a professional NTD installation a fee if they request for one.
Other HFC planned products
Deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 NTDs remain on-track for upgrade by the end of 2016 (CE045).
nbn also plans to introduce service transfers on HFC by September 2016 (PR121), as well as various diagnostic capabilities for Traffic Class 1 services.
The company does not plan to offer business grade “Traffic Class 2” tiers over HFC until 2018 or beyond (PR118).
NBN Satellite Service
ISS migration period extended
The migration of nbn’s existing Interim Satellite Service (ISS) customers to the new “Sky Muster” Long Term Satellite (LTS) service has been extended out until February 2017 (PR023). nbn had originally planned to migrate all its existing ISS customers to the Long Term Satellite solution by the end of 2016.
However, teething issues appeared to have hampered the originally anticipated activation rate — shifting the expected end date for the migration by two months.
There have been numerous reports of missed appointments, inability for NBN NTD modems to reconnect after a power reboot and most recently, the decision to retain the existing ISS satellite service after an LTS installation and retrospectively visit the customer to remove the ISS dish.
Consultation on “Managed Services Education” over Satellite
nbn is investigating the possibility of providing enhanced services for distance education students. The company has listed a number of possible products including a managed unmetered data service and multicast video broadcast services over its LTS service. Consultation on this service is expected to begin in September 2017.
Consultation on “Satellite Mobility” which could enable services like on-board Wi-Fi or Internet access for emergency services in remote areas has also been pushed back slightly to September (PR123).
Cell Site Access Service
As reported earlier, nbn concluded its initial Cell Access trial and has begun offering a Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) test service in Beaudesert, Queensland (PR039).
National broadband company continues to develop product to allow mobile carriers to tap into their fibre network
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, nbn, has released details of its proposed Cell Site Access Service (CSAS) — designed to allow mobile carriers to connect their mobile towers using NBN infrastructure.
This comes as nbn finishes their first round of trials with their customers which started at the end of 2013 and continued through till June this year. However, given the duration of this second trial which is not expected to end till July 2017, it appears that initial plans to have a cell site access product available to customers by the end of the year will be pushed back further.
Former CEO of Vodafone Australia and now NBN-CEO was once a strong advocate for the introduction of the backhaul service. However, the company recently signed a deal with TPG telecom to build out its fibre network to all of Vodafone’s cell sites.
According to the updated testing agreement, nbn will trial the CSAS at a “mobile complex” in Beaudesert, Queensland where the company has begun rolling out its fibre to the node and fixed wireless network. As part of the service, the carrier will receive a network extension quote equivalent to one from the company’s “Technology Choice Program” to extend the fibre network (FTTP) to the designated cell site.
During the trial, the company will not charge the participating carrier for this network extension or any associated costs with this service including the Access Virtual Circuit (AVC), User Network Interface (UNI), Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) and Network-Network Interface (NNI) — however, it says it will intend to do so once the trial is completed.
The test agreement also makes mention of potentially co-locating the cell tower with towers used by NBN’s Fixed Wireless service as part of a facilities access agreement with the access seeker. The NBN company will also determine the network traffic class used during the trial.
The CSAS trial is expect to continue until 1st July 2017.
After spending millions on consultants to criticise past decisions in the 2013 NBN Strategic Review, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, NBN Co, has repeated supposed past mistakes in a metric definition.
The review was highly critical of the former management of NBN Co when it stated that its Interim Satellite Service (ISS) had passed 250,000 premises when the satellites only had capacity to service 48,000 premises:
NBN Co has previously reported Satellite premises covered as 250,000, however the Independent Assessment considers that it is more appropriate to report 48,000 Premises Passed given the contractually limited capacity of the ISS.
Consequently, the review revised the company’s performance figure down in the review — stating the former management had missed the target of 250k premises by 80% (page 40) by reclassifying the meaning of the metric.
Yet, three years later — here we are again with the company using the total satellite footprint as their headline “Premises Passed and Ready for Service” figure.
NBN Co’s weekly progress report, which provides a high-level summary of premises passed across Australia, says 404,064 premises have been “covered” by the Long Term Satellite service. Yet, in the 2016 corporate plan, the company states that satellites only has the capacity to service 250,000 premises at a time.
Following the footsteps of the Strategic Review, NBN Co will technically miss its corporate plan satellite target by around 50%.
The hilarity of it all
What can I say? Metrics are arbitrarily defined by those who want to portray a specific outcome. Criticism of metric definition is moot, and really occurs only when trying to pursue a line of argument intended by those writing it. The Strategic Review is an excellent example of this.
Perhaps unnoticed by many at the time, the numbers in the review favoured the Multi-Technology Mix even though there was no increase in capacity for the satellite.
The review considered only 206,000 premises passed by FY16 in the “revised outlook” — however, it magically jumped up to 340,000 premises passed in the adopted “multi-technology” case without any physical changes to the satellites.
Remarkable isn’t it? Just goes to show how a metric can be reclassified to portray missed targets, then rapidly reclassified again to make your own rollout model look better 😉
Analysis: Some areas delayed by up to 8 months, with 290k premises delayed by at least a month
The company responsible for building the National Broadband Network has updated its rollout schedule, revealing wide ranging delays of over a month in 105 multi-technology mix (MTM) rollout areas around Australia, affecting around 290,000 premises.
These rollout areas predominantly uses the Coalition’s preferred Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology, where the company rolls out fibre to the neighbourhood and reconnects with the existing copper to the home. Despite promising rollouts using the FTTN technology to be faster to complete, the company had reportedly been facing issues including slow rollout design approvals from power companies who will have to power the nodes in the streets. The reasoning behind the latest set of delays is unknown.
The areas worst affected by the delay are Cygnet in Tasmania and Mornington in Victoria, with a delay of 8 months shifting completion dates from late 2016 to mid 2017. The is followed closely by another rollout area in Mornington, Victoria as well as South Hobart and Margate in Tasmania and Garfield in Victoria with delays of between 6 and 7 months.
The rollout in Fletcher, NSW and suburbs near Claremont, Hobart, Tasmania have been set back by around 5 months. Another 8 rollout areas, covering around 22,400 premises in parts of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales have been delayed by 4 months.
For a full list of affected areas, refer to the table below.
Another 22 areas, not listed below, were delayed by less than a month.
Service Area Module (SAM)
May completion date
June completion date
# of months delayed
Approx number of premises affected
South Hobart, Wellington Park, Fern Tree
Electrona, Lower Snug, Margate, Snug, Coningham
Garfield, Longwarry, Bunyip
Safety Bay, Rockingham
Rockingham, Safety Bay, Cooloongup
Hillcrest, Montello, Park Grove, Parklands, Burnie