nbn begins rollout of world-leading FTTC technology
nbn has just started the initial building stages of our latest technology: Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC).
Designed to bring faster speeds closer to your doorstep, more than one million Aussie homes and businesses are planned to be made ready for service by 2020 on this cutting-edge access technology.
FTTC is set to join the other technologies in the nbn™ Multi-Technology-Mix (MTM), including Fixed Line services Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB), and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), as well as Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ satellite services.
The FTTC trial in Coburg, outside Melbourne, marks a world-leading step in internet technology for nbn.
This Coburg trial is intended to test the construction and installation of FTTC deployment.
nbn’s Chief Network Engineering Officer, Peter Ryan, highlighted the importance of the trial when commenting on the FTTC rollout.
“We will be focusing our efforts in the next few months on ensuring we understand how to scale the FTTC network rollout across the country and also working with our retail customers to trial the product in preparation for its launch next year.”
What is FTTC?
FTTC is a hybrid mix of fibre optic cabling and existing copper-wire technologies.
Where FTTN uses copper wiring to serve end-user premises that extends to an average length of around 450 metres, FTTC runs fibre optic cabling to the telecom pit in the street near end-user premises.
This means the existing copper wiring only has to run a relatively short distance to complete the connection between Distribution Point Unit (DPU), inside the telecom pit, and a connected home or business.
Why did nbn go with FTTC?
FTTC helps save time and money as part of the nbn™ network rollout. It has the advantage of driving fibre deeper in to the network, without the added costs of installing fibre between the pit and the premises.
In fact, it has been estimated that this last factor – fibre between telecom pit and premises – accounts for roughly 25 – 30 per cent of the cost of an FTTP build.
There are two key benefits in nbn using FTTC technology.
First, because nbn uses existing copper lines on FTTC-serviced homes and businesses, we can avoid the time and cost associated with digging a new lead-in conduit that would normally be required to run a line into a premises.
The short length of the copper required potentially allows nbn to consider G.fast and maybe even XG.FAST technology upgrades in future, with comparatively less construction work required.
Is there an upgrade path for FTTC?
Currently, the planned upgrade path for FTTC nbn™ network is G.fast.
G.fast is the latest standardised evolution of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections and can deliver fibre-like bandwidth of trial wholesale download speeds of up to 1Gbps over 100m of existing copper cabling and trial wholesale speeds of up to 400Mbps over 300m. FTTC copper cabling should, on average, be within these ranges. *
Beyond this, FTTC also has the potential to support XG.FAST, which is still in early developmental stages.
nbn has already run promising XG.FAST lab trials, which hit up to 3.5Gbps wholesale downstream speeds over 100m of copper.*
When will FTTC be available?
nbn is also working with retail customers to develop an FTTC product, which is scheduled to be available to consumers and businesses by mid-2018.
Over the coming months, nbn will commence the FTTC build across various parts of the nation. The nbn™ network is currently available to almost one in two Australian homes and businesses, is scheduled to be three quarters built by mid-next year, and complete by 2020.
You can check your address on the nbn™ website to see if FTTC is planned for your area.
How does FTTC impact the nbn™ network rollout?
Peter Ryan commented on the impact that the FTTC rollout will have on certain ready-for-service timelines.
“Our decision to roll this technology out at scale means there is a small number of homes and businesses which will have a revised timeline on when they will be able to connect to the nbn™ network.
“We encourage all Australians to check their address on our website to get the most up-to-date information, find out what technology we are using to build the network as well as how to get the best experience out of their internet connection.”
End users should input a valid address on the nbn™ website to see whether FTTC or another MTM technology is or will be available as part of the nbn™ network rollout.
* nbn provides services to its wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers, and does not provide services directly to end users. These speeds were achieved by end users in the context of a trial and are not necessarily reflective of the speeds that will be experienced by end users. End user experience including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the technology over which services are delivered to their premises and some factors outside our control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans, signal reception and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.