Over the Horizon:
the Longer Term Evolution of the NBN
Bob James,
Consultel
+61417103281 rjames@consultel.com.au

Photo: P...
Agenda: the Longer Term Evolution of the NBN
1. Time

How far can we see?

2013-2050

2. Economics

How long to pay ? How ...
1. Time
2013-2050

Previous Nation Building Projects

Water Management

Performance Space

Cornalvo Dam 1st or 2nd century...
1. Time
2013-2050

Arthur C. Clarke’s 3 laws of prediction

1. “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that
som...
1. Time
2013-2050

How far can we see?

Looking back 30 years
$840 modem (2013 $)

Looking forward 30 years
Copper, coax, ...
2. Economics
$$$$$$

Mk 1 NBN
Risk:

Mk 2 NBN
Possible Approach

Risk:

How long? How much? Steps?
>25 Years to Pay
Rising...
3. Technology
FTTN

FTTP

HFC

????

Technology Evolution Paths
Optical Fibre

Copper
82% <500m
90%,<1km
Urban (GQI)

To H...
3. Technology
FTTN

FTTP

HFC

????

3 “end games”, maybe more?

Today’s Games

Endgame(s)
FTTH
(wireless a Competitor)

D...
3. Technology
FTTN

FTTP

HFC

????

Ever enough speed ?
Phil Dobbie?
Phil’s Neighbour?

•
•
•
•

Mobile speed and capacit...
3. Technology
FTTN

1.

2.

3.

FTTP

HFC

????

3 Fibre/Wireless Evolution Paths

From inside urban premises - 1 in
5 hou...
4. Products
Mbps

Household Comms in 2020?

GB

UbiTel
Australia’s Ubiquitous Network

2020 Family Plan 1. 100 Gbytes
2. U...
5. Evolution

What infrastructure steps?

A to B to C

Probabilities 0-5 Years

Start

NBN Reboot, HFC
incorporated

Step ...
6. Competition
2

1

3

Long Term Perspective

• Private Enterprise or Public Utility? operator consolidation to regulated...
7. Goals

Fixed catch-up from 29th?

Or,
Be a global leader (top 5) in ubiquitous broadband
from 3rd in mobile broadband ?
8. Warning

Risks of looking too far into the future

Dante’s Inferno“Dante and Virgil witnessing the punishment of the di...
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Bob James at NBN: Rebooted

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Bob James at NBN: Rebooted

  1. 1. Over the Horizon: the Longer Term Evolution of the NBN Bob James, Consultel +61417103281 rjames@consultel.com.au Photo: Paul Paterson
  2. 2. Agenda: the Longer Term Evolution of the NBN 1. Time How far can we see? 2013-2050 2. Economics How long to pay ? How much to spend? $$$$$$ 3. Technology FTTN FTTP HFC ???? 4. Products GB Mbps 5. Evolution A to B to C 6. Competition 2 1 7. Goals 3 3 “end games”, maybe more? What will households buy? What infrastructure steps? To what end? Long term perspective? Fixed catch-up ?
  3. 3. 1. Time 2013-2050 Previous Nation Building Projects Water Management Performance Space Cornalvo Dam 1st or 2nd century AD. Pompeii Amphitheatre Circa 70BC Snowy Mountains Scheme completed 1972 Sydney Opera House Opened1973 Over 40 years of utility. 2000 years of precedent.
  4. 4. 1. Time 2013-2050 Arthur C. Clarke’s 3 laws of prediction 1. “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” The Probabilities 2. “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” The Possibilities 3. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. The Magic NBN Evolution = Probabilities + Possibilities + Magic 0 -10 Years 5 -15 Years 10 -50 Years
  5. 5. 1. Time 2013-2050 How far can we see? Looking back 30 years $840 modem (2013 $) Looking forward 30 years Copper, coax, fibre, wireless? 30 years from now Verizon and ATT will supply an EP-Card (entangled particle card) for your cell phone. It will have the match back in the Central Office. All incoming or outgoing info (data, calls, whatever) will be INSTANTANEOUS and, even better, will NOT USE RF OR FREQUENCIES for the link. Imagine that - no such thing as "bandwidth" or "frequencies" anymore. Eventually everything that links will have an EPCard, even television - no more RF. May 20, 2010 Byte Magazine 09/85 http://phys.org/news193551675.html Broadband 2040? Just 30 years of broadband. Don’t know future to “future proof” 5
  6. 6. 2. Economics $$$$$$ Mk 1 NBN Risk: Mk 2 NBN Possible Approach Risk: How long? How much? Steps? >25 Years to Pay Rising ARPU, $30Bn Grant? Start Endgame Cant know endgame, but paying for >25 years. Simply too expensive Probabilities 0-5 Years Start Step 1 Step 2 Possibilities 5-15 Years Step 3 Step 4 Magic 15-50 Years Step 5 Step 6 More expensive and slower (in retrospect) Evolution versus attempted revolution
  7. 7. 3. Technology FTTN FTTP HFC ???? Technology Evolution Paths Optical Fibre Copper 82% <500m 90%,<1km Urban (GQI) To Home Copper DSLAM <5Km from home >50Mbps FTTN Coax Difference: “Drop” or “Lead-In” FTTdp Coax HFC Segmented HFC HFC Mini node Fibre Wireless FTTP Macro cell Airwaves Small Cell 1-20 Km from home Very Small Cell Last 750 Meters Last 100 Meters Commonality: Pushing Fibre ever closer Copper, coax and wireless networks all effectively co-evolving as competing infrastructure Copper, coax and fibre all able to meet needs if appropriately designed.
  8. 8. 3. Technology FTTN FTTP HFC ???? 3 “end games”, maybe more? Today’s Games Endgame(s) FTTH (wireless a Competitor) Difficult overbuild economics. Could occur with urban renewal over many decades Optical Fibre Copper DSLAM (including wireless as option) Obvious path forward. May endure in many countries for many decades Fibre/Wireless Potentially cheapest and best. Real “endgame”? Mixed Coax/HFC Wireless Macrocell (fixed and wireless converged) Short Fibre Long Fibre What to do? Stop obsessing about “endgames” and “best”. All fixed networks evolve just fine - push fibre close to homes . Reuse existing lead-in, but be prepared for possible 8 fibre/wireless endgame replacing/augmenting physical lead-ins.
  9. 9. 3. Technology FTTN FTTP HFC ???? Ever enough speed ? Phil Dobbie? Phil’s Neighbour? • • • • Mobile speed and capacity growing faster than fixed Both growing faster than high and low end user needs Mobile to be good enough for many Either good enough for most at around 50Mbps (actual)? Key implication of model is that there may well be an end point – and possibly not far away. Avoid over-investing far in advance of demand
  10. 10. 3. Technology FTTN 1. 2. 3. FTTP HFC ???? 3 Fibre/Wireless Evolution Paths From inside urban premises - 1 in 5 houses hosting a public LTE small cell and 10X spectrum gives 1000X capacity by 2020 (Qualcom) From urban power poles – 32 LTE small cells per macro and 2X spectrum also gives 1000X (Qualcom) From rural areas: commercial mobile LTE will serve last 25% of USA for fixed and mobile needs. Leverage commercial mobile for emergency services, USO & NBN? First is a threat to NBN Business Case Revenues Second and third are opportunities for cooperation or conflict
  11. 11. 4. Products Mbps Household Comms in 2020? GB UbiTel Australia’s Ubiquitous Network 2020 Family Plan 1. 100 Gbytes 2. Up to 20 devices 3. Home Cell à la carte: $60/m $10/device $50/m (including 300 Home Gbytes) 4. Unlim. Voice Calls (in Australia) Family Saver: $5/ph. no $190/month (including 100 standard Gbytes, 300 home Gbytes, 10 devices (SIMS) and 4 phone nos) Value in simplicity, ubiquity and reliable real-time delivery of gigabytes?
  12. 12. 5. Evolution What infrastructure steps? A to B to C Probabilities 0-5 Years Start NBN Reboot, HFC incorporated Step 1 Possibilities 5-15 Years Step 2 Leverage Commercial LTE in Rural Areas Extend fibre to node Magic 15-50 Years Step 4 Support Urban Small Cells Co-evolution or competition? Step 3 Step 5 Selective FTTdp HFC mini nodes Fibre with Urban Utilities Renewal Step 6 Whitespace, WiFi, Mesh LTE Direct ?????????? Step 7 Entangled Particle ????????? • Competitive market dynamics guiding convergence elsewhere - see BT, Comcast and Vodafone as fixed network owners with mobile assets • Au scenario depends on C’wealth settings - compete, cooperate, divest • Will not be easy – could inadvertently limit mobile development overall or create opportunity for just one winner to take all. Relationship between fixed and mobile bigger issue than which fixed technology to install
  13. 13. 6. Competition 2 1 3 Long Term Perspective • Private Enterprise or Public Utility? operator consolidation to regulated broadband utity(s) mirroring gas and electricity ? Possible response: maintaining real competition as long as possible – but recognising costs may be lowered be consolidating infrastructure. • Long distance or retail competition? 121 POIs enable old long distance competition, but at expense of retail service provider competition. Possible response: fewer POIs. • Fixed, mobile or converged? Focus on fixed could inadvertently cause mobile dominance and reduced fixed business case. Possible response: careful scope definition. Don’t block technically and commercially attractive convergence options. • Universal service obligation and emergency wireless services needs add to potential uneconomic network duplication. Possible response: address communications in rural areas holistically and in context of convergence.
  14. 14. 7. Goals Fixed catch-up from 29th? Or, Be a global leader (top 5) in ubiquitous broadband from 3rd in mobile broadband ?
  15. 15. 8. Warning Risks of looking too far into the future Dante’s Inferno“Dante and Virgil witnessing the punishment of the diviners, whose heads are turned backwards because they had attempted to see too far into the future, in illustration of Canto XX”. Attribution: Priamo della Quercia http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=45989 James’s Law: when you look into the future, most of what you see is your own preconceived ideas. 15

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