NBN Co adds 440,000 FTTC homes and defrosts HFC connections

Alex Kidman 10 April 2018 NEWS

Nearly half a million additional homes and businesses on the NBN will get Fibre to the Curb, while the long wait for new HFC connections is nearly over.

NBN Co has announced that it will increase the footprint of the national network to be served by Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) technologies by 440,000 premises by the time the rollout of the network is concluded in 2020. The numbers come from premises previously planned to be served by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technologies as well as "infill and extension" properties within the HFC footprint.

In technology terms, that means that nearly a fifth of the overall NBN network map of 8 million premises will be served by Fibre to the Curb connections, which use fibre up to a point just outside an individual premises, at which point it switches over to the existing copper infrastructure.

NBN Co only launched its first Fibre to the Curb services over the weekend, with 1,000 homes and businesses in Coburg in Victoria and Miranda in New South Wales gaining access to the technology.

While Fibre to the Premises remains the gold standard in terms of connection reliability and speeds, Fibre to the Curb has technological advantages over Fibre to the Node connections due to the lower copper distances involved.

NBN Co expects Fibre to the Curb to be capable of up to 100Mbps connections as currently configured, with a future roadmap for up to 1Gbps connections utilising technologies such as G.fast, where the shorter local loop of an FTTC connection could work very well. If you're keen to learn more about FTTC, our comprehensive Fibre to the Curb guide can help.

However, if you have already got a Fibre to the Node connection or your property remains on the Fibre to the Node rollout map, NBN Co currently has no announced plans for upgrades or switchovers to FTTC connectivity.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow, who recently announced his plan to leave the company by year's end, stated that "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."

NBN Co has also announced that it will "relaunch" sales of HFC connectivity on the national broadband network after pausing them late last year. That freeze was brought about by a large quantity of customer complaints about connection reliability on HFC, with NBN Co at first stating that it would provide fresh information to HFC customers in February 2018, before passing that month by and announcing in March that customers waiting on HFC news would find out "in the coming weeks".

The HFC relaunch will be a staggered affair, with the first release of around 1,000 premises in Melbourne and Sydney to retail service providers from 27 April 2018. NBN Co's plans are to release "around 38,000" premises in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth by the end of June. The expectation is that for the second half of the year the rate of HFC release will expand to "around 100,000 premises per month".

Need to check your NBN status? Our NBN tracker can help you find out when you're going to get the NBN, or what your plan options are.

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