Monday, 22 February 2016 17:46

nbn HFC achieves average trial speeds of 84Mbps Featured

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nbn HFC achieves average trial speeds of 84Mbps Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net/images

The National Broadband Network has achieved end-users average download speeds of 84/33Mbps with a pilot of its HFC network, drawing recognition from analyst firm Ovum that the upload speeds are among the fastest delivered over commercial HFC networks globally.

The nbn HFC trial was conducted at Redcliffe in Queensland with Retail Service Provider – Telstra, iiNet and Exetel  - delivering end-users speeds of up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.

nbn says it now has its sights set on launching commercial HFC services in June.

The HFC Pilot ran from November to February and involved Telstra, iiNet and Exetel delivering HFC services over the Optus HFC network running DOCSIS 3.0 technology.

The nbn says that while the HFC pilot used the current generation DOCSIS 3.0 technology, from mid-2017 it plans to deploy next-generation DOCSIS 3.1 technology which is “capable of wholesale downstream speeds of 10Gbps and wholesale upload speeds of 1Gbps”.

In its independent report, Ovum, which was requested by nbn to review the trial results, says that “globally, only a small number of operators currently offer upload speeds greater than 20 Mbps which positions nbn’s HFC service amongst the fastest upload speeds currently in the global market”.

Said Ovum: “Cable broadband continues to be a major broadband delivery method around the world. Indeed, Ovum estimates there are approximately 150 million cable broadband connections globally representing 20% of the global broadband market.

“The strong base of established cable broadband subscribers combined with opportunities to upgrade cable networks to DOCSIS 3.1, will continue to ensure that cable broadband remains a major broadband technology.”

Acknowledging that the HFC pilot results are “very encouraging”, the nbn said it looks forward to ensuring that its HFC end-users are able to access the same speed tiers from their RSPs as its Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) end-users, with wholesale speed offerings up to 100Mbps downstream and 40Mbps upstream.

“Indeed, our achievement in offering wholesale upload speeds of 40Mbps is particularly impressive as very few HFC operators around the world offer upload speeds as fast as this.

“Only ComHem in Sweden and UPC in Switzerland are delivering upload speeds faster than the 40Mbps wholesale speeds we achieved on the HFC Pilot.

“Whilst we are delighted with the speeds we have achieved on the pilot, we should note that this is really only just the beginning of what we are able to achieve on our nbn HFC network.

“So whilst the pilot demonstrates that we are able to deliver great wholesale speeds of 100Mbps downstream and 40Mbps, the great news is that the rapid improvements taking place with DOCSIS technology means that we could be able to generate much higher speeds going forward - speeds that will be right up there with what we can achieve on our FTTP network.”

According to the nbn, its HFC Pilot demonstrates “once more that existing network assets, whether they be HFC or copper networks, are capable of delivering great speeds to end-users with new technological advances promising even greater speeds ahead”.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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