nbn co to deploy G.fast from 2018

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 25 October, 2017

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nbn co has announced plans to add the G.fast copper acceleration technology to its multitechnology mix next year.

The company has been trialling G.fast technology since late 2015 and plans to conduct further testing before a launch in 2018. Vendors Nokia, ADTRAN and Netcomm Wireless will supply technology for the deployment.

G.fast promises to boost the maximum speeds available over VDSL copper connections — currently 100 Mbps — to deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps, depending on the quality and length of the copper connection.

nbn co said its trials of the technology achieved speeds of 600 Mps over a 20-year-old stretch of 100 metres of copper cabling.

“Adding G.fast to the toolkit for the FTTC (fibre to the curb) and FTTB (fibre to the building) networks will allow us to deliver ultrafast services faster and more cost effectively than if we had to deliver them on a full fibre-to-the-premises connection,” nbn co Chief Strategy Officer JB Rousselot said.

“Our FTTP and HFC end users already have the technology to support gigabit services and adding G.fast over FTTC provides the upgrade path for our FTTN end users to ultimately receive gigabit speeds too.”

The deployment could go some way towards alleviating the escalating complaints over the speed and quality of services delivered to end users over the nbn. The first FTTC nbn connection was activated this week as part of ongoing trials of the technology.

But Geoff Neate, co-founder and managing director of nbn competing high-speed broadband provider Spirit Telecoms, said the nbn’s reliance on defunct copper cabling has made the need for an alternative to the network clear.

“Whilst there is a lot of noise about what can and cannot be achieved, we are constantly delivering speeds at the acquired plan level. That is, the customer is getting what they paid for. Furthermore, over 60% of our customers are choosing plans of 50 Mbps or greater. There is no doubt we are witnessing a ravenous appetite for internet speed and stability,” he said.

Spirit Telecoms provides fibre to apartments and other large buildings in Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney. It uses its own last-mile technology named Spirit Air to connect these buildings to a fibre carrier’s network. Neate said such alternatives will put nbn co on notice.

“It does not matter what industry or what country you come from, a legislated monopoly rarely, if ever, works. The government, ACCC and nbn co are very aware of innovative competitors that are delivering with speed and accuracy. Whether the nbn model was their design or chosen for them, it is their model and even if they deliver on that promise, the smaller, more innovative players will navigate in the wake they leave.”

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