Wednesday, 28 September 2016 23:14

NBN drops Optus HFC in favour of FTTdp for rollout to 700,000 premises Featured


NBN Co has abandoned plans to roll out the national broadband network on the Optus HFC network — with the exception of one area in Queensland — and will now use its newest technology, fibre-to-the-distribution point (FTTdp), also known as fibre-to-the-curb, to deploy the network to up to potentially 700,000 premises across the country.

The deployment of FTTdp will take the network to premises previously earmarked for either fibre-to-the-node (FttN) or hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) in areas served solely by the Optus HFC network.

The only remaining part of the Optus HFC network to be used is in Redcliffe in Queensland where HFC is already used to provide NBN connections.

The original Optus agreement signed in June 2011 saw NBN agree to pay Optus for the progressive migration of subscribers to the NBN network and the eventual decommissioning of the telco’s HFC network.

NBN paid around $800 million to buy the Optus HFC network.

A revised agreement in December 2014 gave NBN the option to use and acquire parts of the Optus HFC network to deliver NBN services if it chose to do so.

But, on Wednesday, after extensive testing in Sydney and Melbourne of FTTdp technology, NBN Co confirmed it would no longer use the Optus HFC network, with the exception of continued use in Redcliffe.

NBN Co said in its statement that the FTTdp technology “best suits areas in premises in the FttN footprint that have too high a cost per premises (CPP) and premises served solely by the legacy Optus HFC footprint that are yet to be made ready for service”.

NBN Co chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan said FTTdp had been successfully tested over the last year, and “we're confident we can now deploy the technology in areas where it makes better sense from a customer experience, deployment efficiency and cost perspective”.

“This includes premises in the FttN footprint that have too high a cost per premises (CPP) and premises served solely by the legacy Optus HFC footprint that are yet to be made ready for service.

"When we consider the advancements we've made in FTTdp, combined with the up-to-date learnings we have on the Optus HFC network, NBN has confirmed it will deploy FTTdp in those areas where the use of the Optus HFC network was planned, with the exception of the already launched network in Redcliffe, Queensland.”

The move to FTTdp was first outlined in NBN Co’s 2017 corporate plan where the company said NBN’s overall HFC footprint would be between 2.5 and 3.2 million by 2020, with more premises being served by FttN, Fibre-to-the-Building and FTTdp. “These ranges reflect NBN’s flexible and technology-agnostic approach,” Ryan said.

Ryan said on Wednesday that HFC remains a highly valued part of the NBN MTM deployment, “however, in balancing the requirements to convert Optus’s current network architecture and design to be NBN-ready, and the opportunity to introduce FTTdp, makes the new technology compelling in these selected areas”.

"We have successfully launched NBN on HFC around the country and we are very encouraged by the performance we are seeing on the network.”

“NBN’s goal is to connect all Australians as quickly and cost effectively as possible, while ensuring upgrade options are available to meet future demand.”


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Peter Dinham

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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