Too much risk in aerial NBN cables: Kelso


Removalists and garbage trucks become enemies of broadband uptime.

NBN cables should be laid in Telstra's pipes and conduits rather than aerially to prevent downtime caused by falling trees and passing trucks, an internet researcher has said.

In a submission to the DBCDE's regulatory reforms review, Ross Kelso - perhaps best known for his contribution to the Broadband Advisory Group (BAG) report - said it was "simply ludicrous" to string next-generation network cables between "rotting power poles".

The poles are regularly hit by vehicles and falling trees in storms, he said.

Safety guidelines also mandate telecommunications cables be attached a set distance below electricity lines, introducing further risks that could impact service reliability of the NBN, he said.

"High vehicles such as furniture removal vans and council garbage trucks have been known to collect the lowest hanging pay television cable," Kelso said.

Kelso warned the Government in his submission against embarking on what he termed "a nation-building exercise based on a shortcut approach to construction".

He urged the Government to do a deal with Telstra for access to their pipes and conduits.

It has already been reported that the NBN rollout will be subject to the telecommunications (low-impact facilities) determination of 1997.

The determination states that aerial cables aren't considered "low impact" and hence carriers wishing to deploy them must seek planning approval from state, territory and/or local government authorities.

There has been discussion that the Federal Government may seek to override local government authorities to prevent delays to the NBN rollout.

However, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) warned against such a strategy when the NBN announcement was made.

"The roll-out of the NBN infrastructure will involve laying overhead cables and cutting up roads, footpaths and nature strips", ALGA president Cr Geoff Lake said.

"Local government recognises that a project of this scale requires an expedited delivery model.

"However, a fast broadband network completed by 2017 and sensitivity to local community interests are not mutually exclusive.

"Councils stand ready and willing to help deliver this ambitious nation building program."

Several councils contributed submissions to the regulatory reforms review.

Brisbane City Council urged facilities access regime changes to minimise the costs of rolling out a fibre network.

"Access to existing ducts, conduit, overhead infrastructure and other assets (such as sewer and water pipes) at a cost reflecting a reasonable rate of return is essential," the Council said.

The Central NSW Councils alliance, which covers regional cities such as Bathurst, Orange and surrounds, added support for simplified land entry procedures and improved access arrangements to poles and ducts.

They also supported aerial laying of NBN cables to improve broadband services in their constituency.

Too much risk in aerial NBN cables: Kelso
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