HFC posing more problems for nbn co

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 05 September, 2017

HFC posing more problems for nbn co

In response to numerous complaints over delays activating hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) nbn services, nbn co has decided to prevent customers from being able to order services until the network is available at the premises.

In a blog post, nbn co Chief Network Engineering Officer Peter Ryan said that while nbn is currently activating around 10,000 HFC end users per week, around half of premises ordering an HFC service need additional construction works completed before they are ready to actually receive a service.

The additional work involves constructing a lead-in conduit to connect the coaxial (insulated copper) cable to the premises.

This has resulted in often lengthy delays between customers ordering a service from a retail service provider and their premises actually being connected to the network.

In response to this, nbn co has decided to only release a new HFC footprint to market — allowing retail service providers to offer services to a location — when the lead-in to the premises is already in place. The company will inform residents when further work is required and attempt to give a time frame for when the work will be completed.

In a statement, Internet Australia Executive Director Laurie Patton said the delays are another consequence of the ongoing insistence of using ageing copper technology for the network.

“First, [nbn co] were forced to abandon plans to use the Optus HFC cables because they were not fit for service, now it seems they will have to spend money on the Telstra HFC network because it, too, has serious issues.”

nbn co paid $800 million to acquire the Optus HFC network in 2011 as part of a 2011 deal, but last year revealed it will largely abandon the network due to its advanced age and state of disrepair. The company will only keep 25,000 Optus HFC premises at Redcliffe, in Queensland, that had already been added to the network.

The company will instead use fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FTTdp) technology to connect the remaining premises that had been due to be served with the Optus HFC network.

“At Internet Australia we’ve been pushing for a bipartisan rethink for about two years now. It’s time everyone acknowledged that the use of ageing copper wires is just unsustainable. Complaints are growing from FTTN customers while the rest of the world, including New Zealand, is rolling out fibre,” Patton said.

He added that nobody has yet even started working out how many billions of dollars it will cost to eventually replace copper with fibre, which will be an inevitable requirement in the near future.

Image courtesy nbn co.

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