When Australian PM Tony Abbott was recently interviewed by the Washington Post and asked about the NBN, he called the former Labor Government’s plan to extend fibre optic cable to every household “wacko”.

Our Director of R&D, Vladimir Lasky, has written a letter to the Prime Minister to explain why he is mistaken and why the deployment of a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN is crucial in securing Australia’s future:

Dear Mr Abbott,

My name is Vladimir Lasky. I am a resident of Wentworth – Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s seat.

I am a Computer Systems Engineer by profession and run RemoteLaboratory.com – an IT business that develops technology to allow University students and researchers to conduct science and engineering experiments by remote control over the Internet – a key application enabled by the NBN.

I and others in my field consider the deployment of a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN to be the most universally beneficial infrastructure project in Australia’s history – a key requirement to enable the growth of Australia’s Information economy, education and R&D.

Recently, you gave an interview to the Washington Post where you were quoted as saying that the idea of extending fibre to every home was “wacko”.

With all due respect Mr Abbot, you are mistaken in your belief.

I may have agreed that Labor’s management of the NBN was wacko, but not the goal itself of nationwide Fibre-to-the-Premises which is very sensible.

It is easy to confuse the cost of construction with the cost of ownership. You surely are a long-term thinker and it is the latter that matters most.

Yes, Fibre-to-the-Node might be slightly cheaper and definitely faster to build than than Fibre-to-the-Home, but the maintenance costs for the old copper and nodes will be absolutely horrendous, making it the far more expensive solution long-term.

The narrow-gauge copper wire that we use for our telephones was specified only for voice communication with 1920’s technology. It was never specified for carrying high frequency signals required for high speed broadband. Furthermore, it has been in the ground for many decades and has decayed. Many people complain of unreliable, poor performing Internet due to the copper being corroded or water entering the ducts whenever it rains.

Furthermore, it will be almost impossible to increase the speed of Fibre-to-the-Node connections, except by building more nodes closer to each client. This would cost a fortune, use lots of electricity and create a maintenance nightmare. Having fibre all the way avoids these problems.

As you are a pious man, I wish to quote the Parable of the The Wise and Foolish Builders from the New Testament (Matthew 7:24-27):

“Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

The Wise builder builds Fibre-to-the-Home – the resilient optical fibre is like the rock which will remain strong and reliable during the rain and floods and handle all the weight placed on placed on it.

The Foolish builder builds Fibre-to-the-Node – the mixture of optical fibre and old copper is like the weak sand foundation which gets easily eroded by the rain and floods, and everything that rests on it falls over.

Please let Malcolm Turnbull be the Wise builder.

Be remembered as the man who thinks of the big picture and is not just opposed to the good idea of Fibre-to-the-Premises because it came from the incompetent former Labor government who were not able to execute it.

Be remembered as the man who adopted the good idea and made it actually happen.

Vladimir Lasky
Director of R&D

Note: this was originally posted on our Facebook page, located here:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Geoff Greig December 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm


Your Biblical analogy of a FTTN being like building on sand and FTTH building on rock is ok for trying t convince Mr Abbot, but it may not go down as well with somone more technical.

Fibre is made from sand and basically copper is made from rock, so not a good technical analogy


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