NBN Co finally hooking up FTTC connections and re-starting HFC rollout

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NBN Co has switched on its latest fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) technology for 1,000 premises in Victoria and New South Wales, the first to have the option of connecting to what's hoped will be a faster and more stable technology.

The promise from the company handling the rollout of the national broadband service is that 440,000 homes and businesses will be connected to FTTC by 2020 – premises that were previously slated to be connected to the fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network. 

This means that by the end of the nationwide rollout of the network, nearly a fifth of the country will have access to FTTC's more stable and potentially higher-speed internet connections. However, the caveat is that the new tech will only be installed in premises that don’t already have an NBN connection.

From the home to the node to the curb

While fibre-to-the-premises (or home, aka FTTP) remains the best option for a reliable and speedy connection, FTTC has some technical advantages over an FTTN setup. 

With fibre going all the way to the curb or the footpath, less of the existing copper phone lines is used to connect to each premise, which can make a difference to both speed and stability.

NBN Co expects the FTTC setup to stably deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps in the near term, with the ability to deliver up to 1Gbps speeds in future using technology like G.fast

Cable connections restarted

In February, a spokesperson for NBN Co said that the stalled HFC services would see sales begin anew in April 2018, and it looks like the company is keeping to its word.

NBN Co has announced that customers can begin to connect to HFC again starting 27 April, but sales will be staggered. It will be offered first to 1,000 customers via retail providers (RSPs) in Melbourne and Sydney, followed by “around 38,000” premises in Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth by June. Beyond that, NBN Co expects to amplify HFC sales to “around 100,000 premises per month” by the second half of 2018.