NBN Might Have To Replace Optus' Messy, Broken Cable Network

Remember the cool $800 million NBN Co dropped on buying the Optus HFC network? Leaked documents have revealed that the NBN Co is thinking about replacing it entirely. Why? Because it’s such crappy infrastructure.

NBN Co spent billions securing the hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) networks of Telstra and Optus when it transitioned to its multi-technology mix roll-out plan. The aim was to leverage the existing infrastructure so that it wouldn’t have to lay more cable. The cable would be upgraded to fast DOCSIS 3.1 standards and everything would be hunky dory. Except, it isn’t.

According to documents leaked by Fairfax, the NBN Co is thinking about replacing — or overbuilding — the mostly awful Optus HFC network.

The slide deck, titled “Overbuilding Optus” and prepared at the start of November, details the problems with the Optus HFC network.

Issues include:

• High “noise” interference on the line affecting speeds
• Oversubscribed nodes that require splitting (which is expensive and labor-intensive)
• Old equipment that needs replacing
• Network complexity
• Optus’ cable modem termination systems can’t support NBN capacity

According to the document, the NBN Co is considering overbuilding it with either Telstra’s HFC network, or replacing it entirely with either fibre-to-the-basement, fibre-to-the-home (unlikely), or fibre-to-the-node.

Overbuilding the network would lead to a cost blowout of anywhere from $150 million to $375 million, and would also cause the NBN Co to miss its FY17 and FY18 targets.

The document says that this is only a high-level analysis, and that its engineers and accountants are still looking into it, but it’s a scathing indictment of the lemon-esque network NBN Co bought from Optus.

Read the full document below.

Leaked NBN document by FairfaxPolitics

Image: Shutterstock

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