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NBN scraps Optus HFC network for FttDP


NBN has announced that it has cancelled its plans to use Optus’ hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) network as part of its rollout and will use fibre-to-the-distribution point (FTTdP) instead.

Currently, the NBN utilises the following technologies: fibre-to-the-premises (FttP), fibre-to-the-node (FttN), wireless, and HFC (a combination of fibre and copper). However, NBN has today announced that it will be using FttDP in place of HFC, and that the technology will be deployed in areas that were scheduled to receive FttN connections.

“We have tested FttDP over the last year and we’re confident we can now deploy the technology in areas where it makes better sense from a customer experience, deployment efficiency and cost perspective,” said NBN chief network engineer officer, Peter Ryan.

“This includes premises in the FttN footprint that have too high a cost per premises and premises served solely by the legacy Optus HFC footprint that are yet to be made ready for service.”

The 18,000 premises in Redcliffe, Queensland will remain serviced by HFC.

FttDP is said to provide faster broadband speeds compared to HFC, and can be seen as the middle ground between FttP (all fibre) and FttN (fibre and copper). FttDP does use fibre to connect to a premise, however the fibre is brought closer to the user and the technology uses “skinny fibre”, which is cheaper to deploy and upgrade than standard fibre.

“HFC remains a highly valued part of our MTM deployment; however, in balancing the requirements to convert Optus’ current network architecture and design to be NBN-ready, and the opportunity to introduce FttDP, makes the new technology compelling in these selected areas,” said Ryan.

This announcement follows documents leaked by Fairfax last year, which revealed that NBN felt the Optus HFC network was “not fully fit for purpose” and was considering overbuilding it.

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