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NBN ramps up FTTC, relaunches HFC

NBN is ramping up its fibre-to-the-curb footprint, with an additional 440,000 properties previously earmarked to receive fibre-to-the-node or HFC to get the faster FTTC connections.

The addition of the new properties will mean FTTC, which went live earlier this week in Miranda in New South Wales, will reach 1.5 million homes and businesses by 2020.

FTTC takes fibre to the end of the driveway, closer to the premise, and as such uses less of the old – slower – copper network, providing a faster service.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow, who announced last week that he will leave the company later this year, said he was “excited” to announce the expanded FTTC coverage.

“The team remains at the forefront of technology developments and continues to innovate to bring the best network to all Australians, as quickly and affordably as possible,” Morrow said.

“The flexibility of the multi-technology mix allows us to choose the right technology for each area and deliver the project on time and on budget.”

“We remain confident of reaching our goal of completing the build and connecting eight million Australian premises by 2020,” he added.

The properties being moved to FTTC are inside or adjacent to existing Telstra HFC network coverage, but are not able to connect to the HFC network and were originally expected to get fibre-to-the-node.

NBN will use existing copper lead-ins to connect the properties to FTTC.

The announcement of the expanded FTTC rollout came as NBN also announced it will resume wholesale HFC (hybrid coaxial fibre) sales to retailers later this month.

Sales of HFC – originally used for cable internet and television – were put on hold last November amid concerns about poor experiences with the service.

NBN said 1000 premises in the HFC access network footprint in Melbourne and Sydney will be in the initial release, with 38,000 HFC premises in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth expected to be released by the end of June.

Come July onwards, NBN said it plans to ‘significantly’ ramp up the release of HFC premises to retailers, with the numbers forecast to hit around 100,000 premises per month.

The network provider said it has undertaken ‘considerable work’ on the HFC network, to improve network performance and stability.

“We are pleased with the improvements seen from the additional work undertaken while sales have been paused on the HFC network,” Morrow said. “We expect to see an uplift in customer experience as a result of these improvements.”

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