iStart - ANZ Broadband wars: NBN vs UFB comparison

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With the government-sponsored fibre rollouts under way in
Australia and New Zealand, iStart takes a look at just what’s
on offer with the NBN and the UFB initiatives...
Please note that the information around both the NBN and UFB initiatives is still
quite fluid. Apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in the below text - Ed].
By Brendan Ritchie

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iStart - ANZ Broadband wars: NBN vs UFB comparison

  1. 1. Feature Images courtesy of Bidgee, Creative Commons NBN vs. UFB head to head comparison42 Quarter Three 2012
  2. 2. With the government-sponsored fibre rollouts under way in Australia and New Zealand, iStart takes a look at just what’s on offer with the NBN and the UFB initiatives... By Brendan Ritchie [Please note that the information around both the NBN and UFB initiatives is still quite fluid. Apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in the below text - Ed].A n important first point here is that I am not discussing the Rural Australian Traffic Classes Broadband Initiative in NZ, so I will stay away from mentioning wireless and satellite services aimed at remote Australian areas. Traffic Description Notes We will just stick to layer fibre. Class Secondly, the approaches are fundamentally different in that 1 Designed for Telephony Available nowNBN co is a single entity rolling out fibre nationwide and then wholesaling it toISPs. However in NZ, four Local Fibre Companies (LFC’s) were signed by Crown Designed for high priority Intended for future release – 2Fibre to roll out services in selected geographical areas, resulting in nuanced dif- video traffic no ETA setferences across regions. Designed for generic high Intended for future release – 3 priority data no ETA setCircuit Access Speeds 4 Best effort only Available now New Zealand Australia I have been unable to find any specific metrics on jitter, latency, or packet loss for the above classes, but if anyone else has been successful in this area I would 30Mbps/10Mbps (GPON) 12Mbps/1Mbps love to hear from you. 100Mbps/50Mbps (GPON) 25Mbps/5Mbps New Zealand Traffic Classes 100Mbps (GPON/P2P) 25Mbps/10Mbps 1Gbps (P2P) 50Mbps/20Mbps Traffic Frame Delay Frame Delay Frame Loss Class Variation 10Gbps (P2P) 100Mbps/40Mbps CIR ≤ 5ms ≤ 1ms ≤ 0.1% It seems to me that NZ has the edge on all fronts here, with a faster entry levelservice, more symmetrical options, and a faster maximum speed range. I am not EIR N/A N/A ≤ 2%sure why the NBN has chosen to go with asymmetrical speeds across the board,or why they have tapped out before surpassing 100Mbps download. Business NZ has a less complex solution in this space, and although you can tailor yourneeds are the same across both countries, so I don’t see how demand can be QoS structure to a greater degree in Australia, or rather, you will be able to oncemet through the Australian offering, but it does seem to suggest that existing the additional classes are released into production, the less complex a solution is,networks have a substantial market space to keep a share of in that market. the easier it is to succinctly package and take to market.Australia is rolling out GPON in isolation, whereas the UFB rollout comprises aP2P suite of services and dark fibre in addition to the cheaper GPON tails, mak- RSP hand-off designing it a far more complete solution for users in every demographic. To avoid confusion here I will again just focus on layer 2 services so we have Another difference between the approaches of our two countries is that the symmetry between each country’s product sets.NBN does not distinguish, whether it is based on price or speed, between resi- NZ has been split up into 33 regions and an RSP can connect in a couple ofdential or business access. NBN instead relies on traffic classes and ISP conten- ways. They can deploy a rack in an LFC’s exchange, or they can purchase an intra-tion levels to distinguish between cost and performance. regional backhaul service to terminate services in an existing POP. There are a few ›› Quarter Three 2012 43
  3. 3. Feature // NBN vs. UFB Pricing As previously mentioned, the NBN does not distinguish between residential and business last mile access. As such we see the following price points: Australia Wholesale Price Images courtesy of Bidgee, Creative Commons 12Mbps/1Mbps $24 25Mbps/5Mbps $27 25Mbps/10Mbps $30 50Mbps/20Mbps $34 100Mbps/40Mbps $38 The above numbers are attractive, but are not indicative of the final cost. All traf- fic classes used for backhaul to the ISP will cost $20 p/Mbps, so contention ratios will dictate retail price points given it is this portion of service delivery that attracts issues with this, namely, that both processes are very expensive in terms of recur- the greatest overheads. On top of backhaul, co-location, and IP transit will combine ring costs and insurance overhead when deployed nationwide, and at present to determine final retail price points. Chorus does not have an inter-regional backhaul service. The UFB rates start at $37.50 for a residential 30Mbps/10Mbps (2.5Mbps each NBN works in a similar manner except that it has a very clear focus on provid- way) GPON circuit, then goes up to $480 for a 100Mbps CIR symmetrical P2P cir- ing national backhaul through its “connectivity virtual circuit” where an ISP can cuit (and beyond). But again, these prices are not indicative of final price points. purchase traffic classes on a per Mbps basis and get end user traffic back to their At present DTS, Orcon and iiNET are a few of a small number of ISP’s that have core POP’s. publicly stated UFB/NBN retail price points on their websites. Both scenarios have the same issue in that only a select few ISP’s have the resources to connect to either network nationwide and as a result both markets Summary are seeing the rise of third party wholesale aggregators, entities which will provide The UFB network is designed to provide a connectivity upgrade nationally, services in low yield regions to ISP’s that can only justify rolling out UFB/NBN inter- and where fast metro networks are already in place, it seeks to encourage connects in key metro markets. adaptation to ensure attractive price points through more cost effective delivery. Conversely, The NBN is looking to bring connectivity where there essentially is SLA’s none at present, or it is of such poor quality that modern applications are not The NZ UFB rollout is far more advanced than its Australian counterpart, and able to be considered for use. Where it is rolled out in metro areas, the residen- consequently the information available around fault restoration is almost non- tial market and small business segments will be keenly interested, but larger existent at this time for the NBN. What we do know is that the fibre network has businesses will likely be better served by existing network providers. a target of 99.90 per cent uptime and that the highest level traffic class (TC-1) has Through offering more service layers and multiple delivery methods, the UFB the following service parameters: product suite is scalable and future focused, whereas the NBN service platform • Frame delay variation ≤ 16ms will need to be substantially upgraded to have anything close to a comparable • Frame Delay ≤ 25ms benefit to businesses. • Frame Loss ≤ 0.04% Brendan Ritchie is the Australian-based CEO of DTS, a business-focused ISP oper- As the premier traffic class, these metrics sit well below the standards for CIR in ating in both Australia and NZ. the UFB space, although having said that, the frame loss target is tighter or TC-1. Twitter profiles: @DTSnz and @DTSaus The lowest traffic class is simply best effort, and the other two options haven’t been released as yet. Chorus has the worst of the NZ LFC’s SLA’s, but none of them are good. Glossary of acronyms Crown Fibre missed a chance to justify the premium on the P2P products by P2P — Point to point attaching a faster restoration target that included faults on the termination GPON — Gigabit Passive Optical Network device (ONT), but as it stands, you will wait for up to 48 hours for service restora- RSP — Registry Service Provider tion on all services unless you pay extra, either monthly, or as a one off $700 UFB — Ultra Fast Broadband, the NZ government’s fibre to charge, and of the three SLA options provided by Chorus, only the highest level the home initiative (and therefore the most expensive) includes faults to the ONT. NBN — Australia’s high speed broadband network If I am not off base, then as the premier traffic class, it is sits well below the POP — Post Office Protocol standards for CIR in the UFB space, although the frame loss is a tighter metric CIR — Committed information rate within the NBN.44 Quarter Three 2012

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