Nationalised telecoms infrastructure in cost overrun down under
If there was ever a cautionary tale about what a nationalised UK Telco might turn out like, then look at Australia. The NBN project was meant originally to be a FTTH heavy project with fixed wireless for smaller towns and satellite to the outback, but this has been downgraded to a mainly FTTC roll-out and yet costs continue to rise and providers are facing increased costs as video on demand starts to take-off in Australia.
The demographics of Australia is vastly different to the UK, but once in the more urban areas where the NBN is planning a FTTC and FTTP mixture things are not that different. A major difference though that the NBN has acquired the Telstra network for something like $11 billion.
The big problem now is that while the public purse is limited to exposure of around $30 billion, the project cost keeps going up as more time is spent on the planning and with labour costs following the usual pattern of always rising any delays are not going to help. As things stand the project is looking at spending $49 billion, earlier estimates were $43 billion but this is still apparently $30 billion less than the original FTTH heavy project was likely to cost.
If everything goes to plan, the tech mix should be around 20% FTTP, 72% FTTC and the rest on fixed wireless or satellite (the project already has dedicated satellite capacity in the sky). This is for a total of some 7.6 million households (population 22.3 million).
Price wise on the NBN network plans it is a choice of a monthly plan with an extra 'casual use fee' or 24 month contract, with a range from $75 per month for 100GB allowance through to $115 for 1TB (plus $59 activation fee and $144 router, engineer installs are another $192) and the speed will vary depending on what technology is available in your area, i.e. plans appear to be no cheaper if you can only get ADSL2+ versus FTTC. Speed wise though if you do creep over your data plan your speeds are capped at 0.25 Mbps. The reason the costs are the same irrespective of connection speed is because the NBN charges providers based on the Mbps used.
BT Wholesale on its WBC network in the UK does have usage charging based around a 95th percentile, but with the massive Sky and TalkTalk backhaul networks there is plenty of options available. TalkTalk LLU network covers 95% of UK premises.
Usage is important as a HD film may be 3GB in size, but embrace UHD and this will rise to 15 to 20GB or maybe even more if its live streaming.
Update: Current Australian dollar to sterling conversion is 0.46, so $75 is £34.50.