HFC: Tried and trusted for high-speed broadband

NBN Co’s deal with US technology firm Arris will help deliver great broadband for HFC subscribers

As NBN Co CTO Dennis Steiger said yesterday we have signed a deal with US technology firm Arris that will see our company use Arris’s cutting-edge technology to substantially upgrade our newly acquired HFC networks.

The deal is really the first stepping stone on our journey to deliver great HFC services to Australians that will offer the same wholesale speeds that are available to our Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) end-users – but at far less cost and much sooner.

What’s more, NBN Co is in great company in using HFC networks to deploy superfast broadband. Only last week UK broadband operator Virgin Media announced it would be spending nearly $6 billion to extend its HFC network to another 4 million homes in the UK.

A global technology

It is worth noting HFC remains a critical technology for broadband deployment in highly developed markets right around the world.

Globally around 20% of total broadband homes use an HFC connection – with a similar number using FTTP or Fibre-to-the-Building services. The remainder of homes are still on legacy DSL services, although their numbers are dwindling.

In the North American market HFC remains the dominant technology with well over half of all homes taking HFC services whilst in South America nearly a third of all broadband homes take services from HFC and in Europe nearly 20% are on HFC.

So, you want speed?

The other great thing about HFC is that it is already delivering great speeds – even over current generation Docsis 3.0 networks – and those speeds will get even higher once Docsis 3.1 comes into the market and delivers Gigagbit cable services.

Right now SK Broadband in South Korea is already delivering 1Gbps on HFC while in Sweden ComHem is delivering 500Mbps/50Mbps services and right across Europe the UPC-backed operators in Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Switzerland are already delivering 200Mbps+ services.

Indeed, it is the arrival of these superfast speeds on cable networks that has really put pressure on the incumbent telcos such as BT in the UK to push hard towards launching G.Fast on their copper networks or to deploy their own FTTH networks.

Runs on the board

One of the great things about bringing Arris on board as our technology partner is that they have fantastic experience under their belt in working with some of the world’s leading operators to deploy high-speed broadband.

Whether it’s in the US with Comcast, the UK with Virgin Media, Kabel Deutschland in Germany or with SK Broadband in Korea or Taiwan Broadband Arris has a first class track record of keeping its customers at the top of the market.

NBN Co will be leveraging that experience and know-how over the next couple of years to make sure that our HFC services are world-class as part of our goal to make sure no Australian gets left behind in the digital dark age.