Fibre to the home vs Fibre to the node

These are two competing technologies.

Both can bring Australians high speed broadband.

Both can bring it to Australians affordably.

Both technologies are upgradeable and future proof.

One costs more than the other.

Look at each technology, starting with FTTN.

The costs of FTTN are.
Maintenance of copper wire.
Installation of node.
Installation of DSLAM equipment that will be superseded as its built, if not before.
Installation of fibre from one point to the node.
Cutover of copper customers

Maintenance of copper wire

The maintenance of copper wire is a known cost to all copper network operators. You can try and keep that copper in good condition, but essentially, it’s a lot to maintain, it simply doesn’t like the weather as much as other possibilities.

Installation of a node

This requires a node to be purchased (pretty much a cupboard), and equipment to be put inside the node, such as UPS for Power, and Air Conditioning, etc, as well as the land it sits on, should a charge apply.

Installation of DSLAM equipment

DSLAM ports provide the xDSL service across the copper line, and are therefore essential in a FTTN roll out. These DSLAMs don’t have a cheap price tag on them either.

Installation of fibre from one point to the node.

Once the node is setup, you still have to run fibre to it so you can get the dang thing on the internet. This isn’t a cheap exercise either, as it involves paying for labour, and that’s not cheap.

Cutover of copper customers

After all the above is done, you still have to plug your customers in to get them online. That means cutover has to be done. The going rate for Telstra technicians to pull a peice of copper wire from one point, and attach it to the other is apparently $99. That’s a lot of dough for a small bit of work. They are extremely skilled at picking copper wire up and attaching it to a different part.

That’s all a expensive exercise, and the total cost per node could come to be higher than 15,000 each node, and more in the area of 30k or more!

The other option, Fibre to the home.

For a FTTH roll out, you have to pay for:



This is the fibre cable running from one point to another. Fibre has little need for maintenance, and is an excellent product for leaving out in the open. It’s not prone to wear away over time, and requires no to minimal maintenance.
It’s also upgradeable to unheard of speeds.


This is the installation of fibre from one point to another, the work done to put the fibre out in the open. They come in different varieties, cheap and expensive. You can get them from India cheap, you can get them from Australia not so cheap, but indeed, they can do the task of digging holes or nailing to poles. They are Labourers. Unavoidable in both proposals.

Looking at the above, the best spend long term is Fibre to the home. It’s stable technology, its proven, its future proof, doesn’t require spending millions, if not billions, only to throw it all away in 5 – 10 years like a FTTN proposal would, and is certainly expandable and upgradeable.

Here is the BEST part of the idea.

With a fibre to the home rollout, you can eliminate Telstra’s copper completely. That means that there is no more Telstra.

They can have their copper, see if they can get customers on it when they have to compete with an open access fibre to the home network? I doubt they would compete with that, or if they did, prices would come crashing down, in order to simply compete.

FTTH doesn’t have the high copper maintenance costs that FTTN does, so with those maintenance costs out of the way, they are able to enjoy more of the profits from a reliable network (or pass those on to consumers).

I think a FTTH proposal should indeed be placed on the table for capital cities. It’s not as expensive as FTTN when you put the long term above it. Why worry about tomorrow? What about next year, when you are having to replace DSLAM cards with newer cards for faster speeds? It’s certainly not future proof.

I shouldn’t leave out this bit though, FTTN is also a great step to FTTH, as you can put fibre line cards in the nodes and run fibre to the customer premises, therefore its a stepping stone for those on a short term budget and unable to secure funds for looking at the long term, but its still a waste of money.


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