NBN Co’s HFC Network: Start the engines!

NBN Co has sealed a key deal with US technology firm Arris which will help us launch HFC services by year-end

This latest deal is a key stepping stone towards our delivery of world-class broadband on our HFC network – and we can’t wait to work with the team at Arris to deliver great services to Australia.

Under the deal, Arris will supply us with the all-important Cable Modem Termination Systems (CMTS) – consider these the engines of the network – as well as other important network technology, and their extensive HFC network deployment expertise.

Arris is a world leader in the HFC broadband space and supplies its technology to major cable operators including the likes of Comcast in US, SK Broadband in South Korea and a number of big operators across the European market.

A new network 

One thing I would like to make crystal clear is that we are putting very considerable resources towards building a substantially upgraded HFC network for the NBN.

The best way to describe what we are doing is that while we are re-using the valuable last-mile infrastructure on the Telstra and Optus networks we are actually putting a lot more capacity into the network and taking it to a new level.

The key to this will be the state-of-the-art CMTS that we will be getting from Arris that will be deployed on the network and which will act as new and much more powerful engines – kind of like upgrading from a four-cylinder to a new eight-cylinder engine.

A great technology 

I know that there has been a lot of conjecture these last couple of years about all the different broadband technologies available in the marketplace and the pros and cons of each one.

We don’t need to get back into that debate today but here is what I can say with a lot of confidence; HFC is a world class, competitive broadband technology solution that is being used all around the world to deliver top class broadband services to consumers and it can do the same in Australia for many years to come .

Even using current generation Docsis 3.0 technology we are seeing cable operators around the world pushing the boundaries beyond what a few years ago seemed impossible – we are seeing operators pushing towards 1Gbps in some markets – and Docsis 3.1 will take us to the era of global Gigabit cable.

A bird in the hand 

One of the great things about the HFC networks we have purchased from Optus and Telstra is that they provide us ready-built lead-ins to almost 2 million properties saving us a huge amount of time and money.

This means we can bring world-class broadband to several million Australian homes in the HFC footprint faster and at a substantially lower cost than alternate technologies.

Now we are lucky enough to have them on board Arris is going to help us build a new, world-class HFC network here in Australia and help us get towards our goal of having 8 million homes on the NBN by 2020.