Sunday, 28 July 2013

NBN: Is the Turnbull "No Disruption" promise "an outright lie" by his definition?

Central to the Turnbull Node Plan is a very strong promise of "no disruption" and "no disturbance" at the user premises. This can be read in two senses, "no disruption" to the user communications services and "no disturbance" to the physical environment.

Turnbull has repeatedly said on the public record, Labor is "telling lies about our policy and indeed about their own". He has responded to the Labor claim in flyers "connection to the (current) NBN is free" is "an outright lie", "Now that is a lie" and in a recent local radio interview "outrageously false and terribly misleading". His justification is that some, not all Retailers charge customers an account setup fee, unrelated to any NBN Co fee or charge. It is a very pedantic and legalistic reading of an intentionally short and general flyer.

Turnbull has now set a very high bar, for others and himself. How do the central claims of the Turnbull Node Plan stack up against their own test?

In early FTTN Broadband proposals, Telstra entertained the idea of "no disruption" cutover from all Exchange based services to a Node. This was possible because there was only one Telephone Switching Network and a single ADSL network. Telstra, as the sole network operator had a very good chance of having correct and up-to-date data on all active services at an Exchange MDF [Main Distribution Frame] and a good, but not perfect, mapping of all pillar connections.

Since 2005, and the wide-spread and increasing use of ULLS (Unbundled Local Loop Service), the situation is much more complex and anecdotal evidence suggests above 30% error rates in the various Fixed Line databases. There are now six of more independent Telephone Switching Networks in Australia and many more DSLAM networks fuelled by the extensive take-up of ADSL2. None of these Networks need be interconnected more than that required for Number Portability.

Again, there's extensive anecdotal evidence that in the new multi-contractor maintenance environment, field records are in disarray. I've written previously on the need for multiple Database Audits by any FTTN implementor, because there is a constant stream of service changes, including numbers, MDF/Cable connections and especially Pillar connections.

Applying Turnbull's "outright lie" test, can all existing phone and ADSL services be migrated with absolutely no errors or disruption in any form to any customers.

The Turnbull test is NOT ONE ERROR, so the answer is a resounding NO!
It isn't possible without freezing all services for the entire duration of the project.

Even then, given normal technical error rates, even with extensive testing & verification, the complex and extended task of swapping 6-9M services from multiple disparate Telephone Switching Networks to a new, untested Network will not be error-free. Most likely there will be a 1-5% error-rate detected within the first day, with more errors detected over time, as much as a 12-18 months.

For services in an FTTN footprint of 9 million connections with active service changes, there is a 100% probability of erroneous Database entries simply due to the delay between changing patches and updating the database. These consistency and "change window" problems are well known in Computing.

Turnbull needs to explain how he intends to meet his own standard of ZERO ERRORS for all interpretations of his "No Disruption" and/or "No Disturbance" at user premises.

Otherwise, by his own interpretation, he is responsible for "an outright lie".


From pg 8 & 9 Background doc:
And since there is no disturbance at the user premises and less digging up of streets, fibre to the node (or FTTN) upgrades in established areas typically cost only 20 to 33 per cent as much as running fibre optic cable all the way to end users (‘fibre to the premises’ or FTTP).  
The value of network technologies, which increase data rates over existing networks, is they avert the need to upgrade or replace ‘last mile’ lines to every home and business. This is expensive because it is both disruptive to residents, businesses and public amenities and labour‐intensive; regrettably, Moore’s law does not apply to digging holes.

From "THE CHOICE AT A GLANCE" graphic in both full and Summary Broadband Plans [Blue is Coalition, Red is Labor]

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