NBN’s FTTDP technology rolling out in 2018

Angus Kidman 28 February 2017

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Trials for the cable network replacement begin this year.

Firstly, a quick refresher. Part of the plan for building the National Broadband Network (NBN) more quickly was to acquire the pay TV cable networks (HFC if you're being precise) built by Telstra and Optus back in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the Optus network turned out not to be largely fit-for-purpose, being too slow and too poorly maintained. So many of the premises that were going to get the NBN via that cable network will instead be getting fibre-to-the-distribution point (FTTDP), which has been thoughtlessly labelled fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) by nbn, the company building the NBN. (Here's a much more detailed account of the machinations and linguistic disasters involved.)

We've known this since last year. Now we have a more precise timetable for when FTTDP will be rolling out. A trial will begin in Coburg North in Melbourne in the second half of this year, with commercial services to follow in the first half of 2018. By that time, nbn is predicting that 100,000 premises will be able to connect to the service.

Eventually, FTTDP will hit at least 700,000 homes. Here's the nbn-supplied list of suburbs where FTTDP will have a presence in Sydney and Melbourne. (Note that this doesn't mean every house in the area will use FTTDP; it all depends on where you live).

SydneyMelbourne
AlexandriaBurnside
BotanyBrooklyn
Caringbah SouthCaroline Springs
CronullaCoburg North
Denham CourtCollingwood
ErskinevilleCremorne
GladesvilleRichmond
Horningsea ParkDerrimut
Hunters HillFrankston
LuganoWilliamstown
Mona Vale
Peakhurst
Revesby
Tennyson Point
Woolooware
Woronora Heights

Given the choice of rubbish HFC and FTTDP, the latter is clearly the better option. The biggest risk for nbn is that having to grapple with brand-new technology will make it harder to meet its deadline of 2020 for completing construction. Right now the prediction is that the network will be 50% complete by the middle of this year.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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