NBN Co launches FTTB, updates construction plan

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By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Saturday, 04 April, 2015

NBN Co launches FTTB, updates construction plan

NBN Co has commercially launched fibre-to-the-building technology as part of the revised multitechnology rollout model for the NBN.

The company is in the process of rolling out FTTB technology to 6000 premises in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Ultimately, around 1 million homes and businesses will be covered by the technology.

FTTB involves rolling out fibre to multidwelling units such as apartments and office blocks, but connecting the individual units via the building’s existing wiring.

Customers involved in the FTTB pilot have been receiving average speeds of 89 Mbps download and 36 Mbps upload.

NBN Co Chief Customer Officer John Simon said the technology shows that existing infrastructure has a role to play in providing the NBN.

“Eliminating the need for individual building designs and in-building wiring cuts down on construction time. Removing the need to install new equipment in the home accelerates the ability of people to connect,” he said.

Simon added that NBN Co is on track towards launching fibre to the node (FTTN) capabilities in the third quarter.

The company has meanwhile submitted its latest quarterly construction plan for the NBN, detailing plans to commence rolling out the network to an additional 550,000 premises across Australia by September 2016.

The quarterly construction plan includes work already underway or in plan to commence before the end of next September, and covers around 3.1 million premises.

“The addition of 550,000 homes and businesses to the construction schedule demonstrates the continuing momentum of the nationwide delivery of fast broadband,” NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow commented.

“Our job is to ensure that all Australians can have access to fast broadband as soon and as efficiently as possible... These quarterly forecasts enable our customers, the telephone and internet service providers, to start planning for the delivery of broadband services to these communities.”

The NBN currently covers around 870,000 homes and businesses across Australia, and 44 phone and internet providers are offering services over the network.

In other NBN news, Telstra has submitted its revised plan for migrating its customers to the network for approval by competition regulator ACCC.

The revised plan, negotiated with the government and NBN Co, will govern how Telstra goes about progressively disconnecting its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) networks as the NBN is rolled out.

The original agreement had to be renegotiated to reflect the Coalition’s multitechnology rollout model for the network. The revised deal will allow NBN Co to progressively take ownership of parts of Telstra’s copper and HFC networks.

According to Telstra Group Executive for Corporate Affairs Tony Warren, the company has also taken the opportunity to improve the disconnection arrangements based on feedback from the industry and the company’s experiences with the NBN migration so far.

The proposed new disconnection arrangements include allowing NBN Co more time to make premises serviceable and coordinating disconnection dates. The financial terms of the arrangement have not been changed.

“The varied Migration Plan delivers on the key objectives of the government’s migration principles and will help contribute to a successful NBN rollout,” Warren said. “We will now work together with the ACCC and industry through the consultation process to help achieve approval of the plan.”

Judging by Australia’s voracious appetite for data, the NBN rollout cannot be completed fast enough. New ABS statistics show that Australians downloaded enough content to fill more than 6.3 billion CDs over the last year.

The average Australian broadband usage grew to 58 GB per month by the end of the year, up from 45.6 GB at the end of the last.

As of the end of the year, there were 12.69 million internet subscribers in Australia, almost all (99%) with broadband connections. Of these, there were 2.33 million subscribers with connection speeds faster than the 24 Mbps available via ADSL2+.

NBN Co’s latest traffic report meanwhile shows an average consumption per subscriber of 83 GB per month, with downloads accounting for 67 GB of this total.

Image courtesy of Dushan Hanuska under CC

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