Aussie Broadband calls for retrofit funding in regional telecoms review

Internet service provider Aussie Broadband is pushing for retrofit funding as part of the fix for fixed wireless congestion. Aussie Broadband MD Phillip Britt said that in its submission to the Federal Government’s regional telecommunications review, the firm believes there is now cause to revisit the fixed wireless footprint.

“We estimate from analysing our own data that at least 18% of the fixed wireless network is currently experiencing what we define as severe congestion. Our analysis of NBN data leads us to believe that 12% of the network is experiencing what NBN defines as unacceptable congestion,” Britt said.

nn “It’s obvious to us that fixed wireless has, to some degree, been a victim of its own success. It was rolled out early in the NBN schedule and demand for services since then – what is often called “the Netflix effect” – have escalated,” he said, adding that at least part of the fix should be more Federal Government funding to revisit the fixed wireless footprint.

“Many denser rural township areas or parts of township areas allocated to fixed wireless in the early part of the NBN rollout could now be serviced by lower cost FTTN or FTTC technology,” he said.

“Ideally, no-one on a quarter acre township block should be serviced down the track by fixed wireless. It should really be used to service customers on larger blocks around the outskirts of towns, and rural properties where appropriate. Removing denser parts of townships from the network would help free up capacity for surrounding customers on fixed wireless,” Britt said.

He also said there were numerous examples of whole towns that could be switched from fixed wireless to fixed line services, such as Toongabbie and Glengarry in regional Gippsland and Port Wakefield in South Australia.

Meanwhile, townships such as Blayney in NSW or Kalbar in Queensland, have suburbs located side-by-side that show a current digital divide between customers on congested fixed wireless and those on fixed line services.

“It would not be hard to go back into these towns and retrofit those areas to fixed line services,” said Britt. “It’s a natural progression for the NBN and probably one they already have planned – we would just like to see it funded earlier. It also has the potential to increase NBN’s average revenue per user in those areas, by shifting customers to higher capacity technologies.”

In addition, the Aussie Broadband MD said the ISP has again pushed for a common definition of congestion in its submission to the Federal Government.

“There are a range of definitions of congestion in the telco universe,” Britt said. “For example, we define severe congestion as averaging less than 50% of a speed plan for 12 hours or more per day. NBN uses a slightly different definition, as does the ACCC. We think it would be helpful – especially for customers – if there was an agreed definition to base conversations around.”

Britt said that as a regionally-based telco, Aussie Broadband had a deep understanding of the challenges that currently face the fixed wireless network. “We’re not interested in the blame game here; what we’re interested in is a network that will  deliver good quality internet to regional Australians now and into the future,” he said.

Coalition outlines roadmap for Aussie push to ‘lead world in digital transformation’

Michael Keenan, the Federal Minister for human services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister for digital transformation, has laid out the coalition government’s vision for Australia to position itself as a global driver of digital transformation in response to a critical need for the nation to be “keeping pace with technological change.”

Addressing the Australian Information Industry Association for the first time since adding the digital innovation brief to his remit, Keenan said Australians were embracing technology like never before. “They expect services – whether they are coming from government or the private sectr – to be simple, convenient and easy to use,” he added, noting also the increasing speed of digital disruption more broadly.


Maker:L,Date:2017-10-18,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y“It is also absolutely clear to me that [this] requires us to be a leader in digital transformation,” the Minister said.

“In the same way that so many industries have been disrupted and transformed by the advent of new technologies, we, as a government, must also seek to disrupt and transform ourselves and the way we engage with, and deliver for, all Australians.”

Keenan argued that “the old ways of doing things, like forcing our customers to do business with us over the counter, must be re-imagined and refined.”

“in doing so, we are not only improving the lives of our citizens, but we are also making government services more cost-effective and – most importantly – ensuring that we are not left behind in a rapidly evolving digital world,” he said.

Specifically, some key initiatives announced included the development of a Digital Transformation Strategy for the Commonwealth to allow the government to become a world leader in digital transformation within the next seven years.

“By 2025 Australia will be one of the top three digital governments in the world.” 

‘The strategy will outline a set of clear goals and next steps for delivering Australia’s digital future,” Keenan said, flagging particular focus areas such as:

  • The government’s engagement and service delivery: To make government interactions and engagement easier for both individuals and businesses
  • Decision making: To make smarter, more innovative and informed decisions through the use of data and analytics –
  • Government supporting structures and business models: To make government fit for the challenges of the digital age by adapting to new and emerging technology. This, Keenan stressed, would involve challenging the mindset and processes of the Australian Public Service.

In addition, Keenan said the digital transformation strategy will be accompanied by a clear roadmap setting out key scheduled milestones across all areas of focus over the next two years.

“The roadmap will identify new and improved services delivered to Australian individuals and organizations, from students and welfare recipients to tax practitioners and businesses, from patients and older Australians to overseas travellers,” said Keenan.

“I expect that I will be in a position to share the final strategy and roadmap…  in Quarter 3 of this year,” he said.

“In order to develop the strategy and roadmap, I have asked Digital Transformation Agency to adopt an agile approach and ensure it is consulting and engaging across all stakeholders. So far, the DTA has already engaged face-to-face across 30 government agencies, and have canvassed the views of more than 500 stakeholders on digital maturity to explore the opportunities and the possibilities ahead of us,” he added.

“As a result, DTA has developed the alpha draft of the strategy, which is now being circulated for comments across the public sector.”

“The DTA will also be running consultations with the industry shortly to gather your input to help deliver a bold, yet pragmatic strategy that will truly deliver Australia’s digital future,” the Minister told the AIIA audience.



Australian Greens Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has backed calls for an immediate overhaul of digital rights protections in Australia in the face of eroding online privacy and the rise of surveillance capitalism, following the release of Digital Rights Watch’ ‘The State of Digital Rights’ report. Continue reading “AUSTRALIAN GREENS CALL FOR DIGITAL RIGHTS PROTECTION OVERHAUL”