Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:44

NBN fibre network to expand further, HFC set for relaunch Featured


NBN Co, the company building the national broadband network, is ramping up its planned fibre-to-the-curb footprint, with 440,000 more homes and businesses to receive the new technology.

This latest proposed expansion will take the total planned FttC footprint closer to 1.5 million homes and businesses by 2020.

Announcement of the FttC expansions coincided with NBN Co also announcing that its HFC network is set for re-launch, with a staged re-sale of wholesale HFC services to retailers from 27 April.

With FttC, NBN Co says the additional premises added to the footprint were originally planned for the fibre-to-the-node "long-copper lines" and "infill and extension" premises within the existing planned HFC footprint.

“These premises are inside or adjacent to existing Telstra HFC network coverage, but are not able to connect to the Telstra HFC network,” the NBN Co says in its statement.

“In line with our strategy of using the most cost-effective and time-efficient technology in any given location, NBN Co will use the existing copper lead-ins to connect these properties to FttC.”

With the proposed relaunch of its HFC network,  NBN Co said on Tuesday it plans to initially release around 1000 premises in the HFC access network footprint in Melbourne and Sydney.

It is also planning to release around 38,000 HFC premises by the end of June in select areas across Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

NBN Co says that from July onwards it expects to significantly ramp up the release of HFC premises to retailers, forecast to hit around 100,000 premises per month.

According to the company, it has undertaken considerable work on the HFC network, ensuring network performance and stability has improved substantially and a better service experience will be made available to end-users.

The optimisation programme will continue across the HFC network and NBN Co says it will update its website in coming weeks to reflect the changes starting with those that will be declared "ready to connect" in the April-June period.

 “We are pleased with the improvements seen from the additional work undertaken while sales have been paused on the HFC network. We expect to see an uplift in customer experience as a result of these improvements,” said NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow.

“We are also excited to announce we will be expanding FttC to cover an additional 440,000 premises in areas where some long-copper FttN and new HFC lead-ins were previously planned.

“The team remains at the forefront of technology developments and continues to innovate to bring the best network to all Australians, as quickly and affordably as possible.

“The flexibility of the multi-technology mix allows us to choose the right technology for each area and deliver the project on time and on budget.

“We remain confident of reaching our goal of completing the build and connecting eight million Australian premises by 2020.”

NetComm Wireless — which has agreements with NBN Co for the supply of both Distribution Point Units and Network Connecting Devices that together provide the FttC connection to premises — has welcomed NBN Co’s announcement that it will increase its planned FttC footprint.

Netcomm says, at present, it is the only supplier with tested, approved, installed and working FttC equipment. In relation to the expanded FttC footprint announced by NBN Co on Tuesday, NetComm says no orders have yet been received, but it is hopeful that as the rollout progresses over the coming years, it will receive further orders.

“We welcome the NBN’s announcement to expand its FTTC footprint to almost 1.5 million Australian homes and business premises. We have worked closely with NBN to support their FttC project and enhance the effectiveness of their rollout,” said Ken Sheridan, chief executive and managing director of NetComm Wireless.

“With NetComm Wireless at the leading edge of key technology developments that provide real benefits to network operators, we look forward to further growing our relationship with NBN as it expands the planned footprint of its FttC project.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a 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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