NBN makes first FTTC connection

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NBN makes first FTTC connection

Trial of faster fibre-to-the-curb technology successfully completed ahead of next year’s rollout.

The NBN Co has come under fire of late, but there is some good news: Its use of FTTC (fibre-to-the-curb) technology has taken a step forward with the connection of a trial premises in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

FTTC (please don't tell us it should be K for kerb – that's the terminology adopted by NBN Co and we don't want to add to the confusion) involves the provision of fibre to the property boundary, with the existing copper phone line used as the lead-in.

The idea is to avoid the limitation of FTTN (fibre to the node) where the further the premises are from the node, the lower the maximum attainable speed, but without having to run a new cable into the building as is the case with FTTP (fibre to the premises).

The cost of running new cables to premises has not been regarded as an obstacle to the HFC (hybrid fibre cable) rollout.

NBN Co has estimated that FTTC will cost around $2900 per premises, compared with $4000 for HFC. There have been suggestions that the latter figure would be significantly lower if NBN Co had adopted – or perhaps been allowed to adopt – newer and cheaper ways of installing fibre.

Another saving for NBN Co is that it doesn't have to pay for the electricity needed to run the DPU (distribution point unit; the piece of equipment that connects the fibre and copper cables), as that is provided from customers' premises.

The Coburg trial achieved speeds of 109Mbps downstream and 44Mbps upstream over the 70-metre copper line to the premises.

The company expects to connect around 700,000 homes and businesses via FTTC. The commercial rollout is expected to begin in the first half of 2018.

“We believe FTTC will become another vital tool in the mix of technologies we're using to deliver the NBN access network,” said NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow.

“Reducing the cost of the network by bringing on-board new technologies like FTTC is crucial because the more money that we spend on the network, the more Australians will have to pay for their broadband.”

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