The third major fixed-line technology slated to be part of the ‘multi-technology mix’ being employed for the National Broadband Network is now available commercially. NBN announced today that the first commercial Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) services had been made available for order in Queensland.
Some 18,000 premises in the suburb of Redcliffe can now order HFC NBN services. Redcliffe was the sight of NBN’s first HFC pilot.
NBN’s HFC network is based on the pay TV networks rolled out by Telstra and Optus; ownership of the networks is being transferred to NBN under agreements struck in late 2014. Under NBN’s most recent corporate plan, the technology is intended to reach 4 million premises and account for 34 per cent of the overall network.
The other key fixed line components are fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the building (FTTB), which together are expected to reach 4.5 million premises (38 per cent of the network) by the end of the rollout, and fibre to the premises (FTTP), which is set to reach 2.4 million premises (20 per cent).
The state of the HFC assets that NBN is obtaining under its deals with the two telcos has been the source of controversy. Labor earlier this month released an NBN election policy that would see the eventual phase-out of FTTN and greater use of FTTP; however, due to NBN’s contractual commitments HFC is likely to remain a component of the network even if the party wins the election.
NBN plans to roll out DOCSIS 3.1 for its HFC network in 2017. The company says that the standard will deliver a significant boost to HFC performance.
NBN is planning to have 875,000 premises able to order HFC-based broadband services by June 2017.