Monday, 22 December 2014 18:46

NBN reveals HFC timetable

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NBN Co says its HFC services will be introduced in the first quarter of 2016, following a customer pilot late next year.

We learned just over a week ago that NBN Co had struck deals with Optus and Telstra to acquire the telcos' HFC networks for use as part of the NBN.

In a follow-up article, this writer noted "There's no real indication when NBN HFC services will be available, but with 1.7 million homes connected to the existing HFC networks and another 1.5 million passed but not connected, the HFC development should make it easy for NBN Co to meet its revised goal of having at least started construction to around 3.3 million premises by June 2016."

NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon (pictured) now says "our updated Product Roadmap includes an estimated timeframe for a HFC customer pilot in Q4 2015 with our initial scale product launch in Q1 2016."

Since NBN Co has for some time been seeking to use the HFC networks as part of the 'Multi-Technology Mix' (and did anyone really think it would be unable to reach a deal with Optus and Telstra?) it seems strange that it could take as much as another year before we see the first customer pilot, but technology projects often involve complications that would never occur to outsiders.

Simon also said "we remain on track to deliver our FTTB product in Q1 2015, followed by our FTTN product in Q3 2015."

The FTTB pilot in Melbourne is currently delivering "average download peak speeds of 89 Mbps and average upload speeds of 36 Mbps" at the physical layer, while the FTTN pilot in Umina (NSW) is giving "average download peak speeds of 90 Mbps and average upload speeds of 36 Mbps." Work on a second FTTN pilot in the Melbourne suburb of Epping begain in September.

Taking all of the technologies into account, the 3.3 million goal sounds eminently reachable.

Other new items on the NBN roadmap include the planned introduction of a 50/20Mbps speed tier for fixed wireless customers "where the signal strength is high enough." A pilot is scheduled for Q2 2015 with availability in the following quarter.

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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