Shallow dive: West Coast Tasmania NBN doesn’t make sense

There’s something unusual about the way NBN is planning to service the West Coast of Tasmania.

The company is preferring to place over five thousand Australians onto an already oversubscribed network with a single point of failure 36,000 km away from Earth in favour of a fibre network without a redundant loop. Supposedly, this is more redundant.

The company originally planned to roll out a fixed line network (presumably Fibre to the Node) as well as fixed wireless in and around the townships of Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan. The plan was to utilise an existing fibre that already services the towns to deliver the service.

The company has since backflipped on these plans, claiming that a second fibre path is required to provide fixed-line services and such costs would be “too expensive” to build.

These are townships with existing fibre and microwave transit network, they already for 3G/4G mobile networks, plus ADSL or ADSL2+ Internet.

Does NBN seriously think dealing with issues with the satellite 36,000 km away from Earth’s surface is easier to fix than a single fibre spur network that already currently services those towns?

Could NBN consider using satellite or microwave network as the second, redundant path in case the main fibre breaks?

For a deeper dive into the topic, read my longer form piece on the situation in West Coast Tasmania.

What’s a “Shallow dive”? Shallow dives are a content format I’m trying out. Essentially, they are shorter, more concise pieces to either summarise detailed analysis pieces I’ve written — or briefly write about topics that I don’t yet have the time to analyse in detail.  Think of them as a TL;DR of the original piece.