nbn launches national HFC network with WA service activation

nbn is taking another huge step on our journey to bringing high speed broadband to all Australians with the launch of our first HFC wholesale services on the former Telstra HFC network.

nbn can tick off another major milestone on our journey with today’s launch of HFC wholesale broadband services in Ocean Reef, WA, which is the first area to be connected to the nbn™ network over the former Telstra HFC network.

The former Telstra HFC network – with significant upgrades from nbn – will constitute the vast majority of the nbn HFC rollout that will deliver services over the nbn™ network to a proposed footprint of more than three million premises across the country.

Ocean Reef is one of the early HFC deployment areas that we started work on before finalising our HFC deal with Telstra in order to really kick-start the HFC rollout.

I should again make it clear that nbn is not simply taking over and re-badging the Telstra HFC network, we are investing heavily in both adding significant additional capacity onto the network, as well as extending it into new areas – this will indeed be a very different network.

We launched our initial wholesale HFC services to nearly 19,000 premises in Redcliffe, QLD on June 30th, using Optus HFC infrastructure, basically expanding upon the HFC Pilot that we delivered earlier in the year, but the launch of wholesale HFC services on the former Telstra network shows that we are really getting into the business end of the HFC network deployment.

Great effort by our team 

It has taken a huge effort by all of our team at nbn to get us to this point, a massive amount of work has been done with Telstra, our delivery partners, our technology vendors and our customers to be able to get here.

In April we signed off on our deal with Telstra for them to manage the design and construction of the nbn™ network to more than three million homes within their HFC network footprint, and earlier this month we signed our construction agreements for the HFC network with our delivery partners.

It is worth remembering that we will actually be one of the first operators in the world to deliver open access wholesale services over an HFC network. We have broken a lot of new ground in these last couple of years and now that hard work will pay off for our customers and end-users.

Our HFC network will enable our RSPs to offer a consistent product range and user experience on retail plans based on our wholesale speed tiers, 100/40Mbps, 50/20Mbps, 25/5Mbps and 12/1Mbps* to locations served by our HFC network similar to that offered over our Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network designed to give end-users a great experience.

It is worth noting that that some locations within the footprint of Telstra’s and Optus’ former HFC networks will be served by other nbn access technologies when it is more time and cost efficient to do so.

HFC: A powerful technology

There has been huge debate about the various technologies that we are using to build the nbn™ network, but with the recent exciting developments around new technologies like DOCSIS 3.1 and the Gigabit speeds it has the potential to bring, people have begun to understand what a fantastic asset HFC networks can be for Australia.

If you look at the bigger picture, getting that final connection from the ‘pit to premises’ has been a challenge. However, with our new HFC network we already have over 1.5 million lead-ins already established, so for these premises much of the hardest part of the deployment is already done.

In some cases all we need to do is get a new modem to these end-users so they can contact their RSP to order a service and be connected to fast broadband over the nbn™ network.

Thanks to recent technological improvements, HFC networks of the future have the potential to equal FTTP in speed, a recent Ovum report finds. nbn CTO Dennis Steiger explains the report, and the technology behind it.

*We’re designing the nbn™ network to provide these speeds to our wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers. End user experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans, signal quality and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.