NBN Co has finally switched on the first Fibre to the Curb connection

The NBN rollout has reached a major proving point as the first Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connection has been switched on, giving the company a chance to test its latest format in the Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) approach.

NBN Co announced in a blog post that the first FTTC connection (also known as Fibre to the Distribution Point, FTTdP) has been activated at a single property on a trial basis, revealed in a post from June, 2017 to be in Coburg, Melbourne. 

Designed as a compromise between the relatively expensive fibre to the premises (FTTP) and the unreliable fibre to the node (FTTN), this method can “reach the exact same 100/40Mbps top-speeds” as FTTP, according to the company’s post, and is “around $1,500 cheaper”.

While FTTN could result in having to run copper cabling from the premises to the end of its street, FTTC connections will ideally only have to run to an existing nearby telecom pit, thus shortening the distance that the signal has to travel via copper and also reducing the impact of the installation on the premises itself.

Need for speed

According to statements made to News.com by NBN Co, the trial premises “has achieved speeds of 109Mbps downstream and 44Mbps upstream using VDSL technology over a 70 metre copper line”. 

VDSL (Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) is the same technology being employed in FTTN connections and uses the same copper infrastructure as ADSL. Although it still suffers from the same susceptibility to degradation and longer cable lengths, this technology allows for download speeds up to five times greater than traditional ADSL lines. 

While the speeds mentioned are certainly decent, we don’t know at this stage if it’s an accurate reflection of the average FTTC connection for future activations. As the numbers are quite close to the top-tier 100Mbps/40Mbps NBN plan, it could even be possible that these are capped speeds and that the technology is capable of even more impressive down- and upstream results.

FTTC technology will be made available to over 1 million Australian homes and businesses by 2020, according to the NBN. You can find out which connection type your home or business is due to receive, an estimate of when it’ll happen, and an explanation of the different connection types on our Connecting to the NBN: What to expect page.