What will NBN’s HFC rollout pause mean for your connection?

Alex Kidman 27 November 2017

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NBN users waiting for HFC connections will have to wait a little longer than anticipated.

NBN Co has announced that it is "temporarily pausing" any new activations of HFC NBN connections, citing the need to "improve customer experiences" for those sections of the National Broadband Network set to be serviced by the former Telstra and Optus Cable networks.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement that "In order to deliver an improved experience on HFC, NBN Co will be performing additional work ahead of end users being able to connect to nbn services on the HFC network. With the incremental work now required before a home is declared ready to connect, we are focused on providing a better service to our customers (the internet service providers) and thereby improving the experience for the end user."

"While the good news is that we are working on a better experience for the internet providers and end users, the improvement efforts will take additional time and therefore a delayed schedule will occur for most of the remaining HFC premises that have yet to switch to services on the nbn access network."

Morrow stated that he remains "confident of reaching our goal of completing the build and connecting eight million Australian premises by 2020."

I'm yet to get on the NBN. What will this mean for me?

If you're in an area due to be serviced by HFC NBN, it almost certainly means a delay in getting your connection provisioned, although by how much is rather difficult to say.

NBN Co's official statement on the work simply says that "This pause will be in effect until incremental field work is undertaken to raise the quality of service for end users. There will be a delay of the current rollout timing of new HFC areas while the company undertakes this work in both the existing footprint and areas not previously declared ready for service."

NBN Co says that it's working with its ISP customers to update details and that changes to the rollout schedule will be made public "in the coming weeks". As always, you can use our NBN Tracker to check your precise release dates, and we'll update with that new information once NBN Co goes public with it.

Does this mean I'll get less time to switch over or lose my existing ADSL connection?

While NBN Co and the ISPs have played pass-the-buck somewhat with customers who were initially cut off from ADSL services when declared ready for service with HFC, NBN Co advises that "NBN Co is working with the existing infrastructure owners of both the ADSL and HFC networks to be sure those who may wait a bit longer to switch to services on the nbn access network will still have access to the same services that they have today."

I'm already on the NBN via HFC. What will this mean for me?

If you're already connected, there shouldn't be a disruption to your services to speak of, although customers who have experienced poor connectivity may have a boost once NBN Co's work is completed. It may be worth checking with your ISP specifically to check that NBN Co hasn't informed them of any planned outages in the meantime.

I'm already using HFC broadband via Optus or Telstra. What will this mean for me?

Again, there shouldn't be an issue for segments of the existing HFC network under contract to (largely) either Optus or Telstra, because those are by definition the segments that NBN Co is yet to pull onto the National Broadband Network. What seems likely is that you may have an even longer wait than previously to actually have that switchover happen while NBN gets busy improving its overall HFC service package.

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